This Is Your Life

Some of my friends and acquaintances suffer in ways that I used to do, and I want so badly for them to know that life doesn’t have to be that way. Each of us is on our own path, and I cannot control the rate, speed, direction of yours, but I hope to be able to help along the way somehow, if possible.

But first I want to give you an update of where I am today. Yesterday’s post was written last week, when one day I was feeling sad because Mr. Right Now wasn’t doing what I thought he ought to be doing, ie, what I want, and I longed for the connection shared with my ex. That feeling passed, and every day gets a bit easier. (And Mr. Right Now redeemed himself.) (And he doesn’t have to do what I want all the time.) Though I don’t want to spend the entire relationship making comparisons, I can’t help but notice how much easier the new guy is. How even-keeled. The coolest thing is that he asked me to be the leader in the relationship because he says he doesn’t know what to do, which I find hard to believe from a grown man who has no trouble attracting women. No matter. I like being the leader today. It’s the absolute opposite role I played in my last relationship, that’s for sure.

Enough about that.

Back to you.

You’re unhappy with your life and you have no idea where to start, what to do, how to make it better. You’re tired of doing the same thing, day in, day out. You hate your job, you can’t stand the people there, and you have to spend most of your waking life with these assholes! Everywhere you go a cloud of impending doom follows. Sure, something good might happen, but it’s only a matter of time before something tragic or merely frustrating happens. Even if your life got better, you know you’d still be the same you, and you worry that maybe you’re just defective, that happiness is impossible for you. What do you do?

I’ll tell you what I did.

First, I left my husband (who, by the way was a perfectly good husband). Then, I left my job (which was a perfectly good job). I had some money saved in the meantime, and I got a job I liked, making far less money, and I downsized my life dramatically, and I moved into the bedroom of a friend’s house for five times less than what I paid in rent for my townhouse.

I’m not saying you have to take such drastic measures. It’s not up to me to decide what you do. Only you can decide that.

More importantly the actions I took during that time were this: I read self-help and spiritual books on topics that spoke to me, I talked to a therapist who worked with me on a sliding scale based on my low income, I did not drink or drown my sorrows in unhealthy ways like with alcohol or drugs. I prayed a lot. I meditated as much as I could bear. I researched articles online for topics important for me: how to be in a healthy relationship, how to find your dream job, how to be more assertive, how to meditate–any question that popped into my head, I asked Dr. Google. I got books on these topics from the library. I read positive affirmations and I read them again, repeating them in my head throughout the day. I talked to people, trusted friends and my sponsor who guided me. I exercised more. I went outside more, I took long walks on trails in the woods. When I felt sad, I cried. If I felt angry, I raged, often in the form of typing words on this screen. I tried to practice exercises I learned from my self-help books on mindfulness and pay attention just to this moment, right here, now, and not what I have to do after this, or next week, next year, or 10 and 20 years down the road.

This is your life, now. Today. Don’t you want to enjoy it?

One problem I’m having right now is deciding what I want. Why not write down a list of what I want, and go from there? With my ex, I wanted to live together, possibly get married, and do whatever I thought he wanted me to do: become a stepmother, move to wherever he found a better job near his kids, and basically rearrange my life around whatever he planned for himself. Today I have the freedom to do what I want. Mr. Right Now doesn’t want to live with anyone again, ie, he’s not planning to get married again. My first thought was, Maybe I don’t want that either. Maybe it’s nice to be alone, waking at 4am to write my blog posts, sit outside if want to, sprawl across the bed if I want to, leave my shoes in the middle of the floor. Or maybe I’m changing my mind based on what someone else wants, and that’s no good.

What do you want? Ask yourself, what do I want from this life?

Now go out there and get it.

Here’s a song that my dad used to play all the time when my sisters and I were little, and looking back on it, I wonder if this was his personal anthem, a big middle finger to my mom, who left him, and left him heartbroken from what my sisters tell me. I was too little to remember. There’s a lyric in this song that I took the name of my blog from, which is this: “Either way it’s okay / you wake up with yourself.”

This is your life.

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