About two years ago I made the incredibly difficult choice to reinvent my life, to take an uncharted path away from predictable routines and a well-mapped future. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I had financial security, a beautiful home, healthy children, and cute pets. Why rock the boat? Why listen to the deeper ache or confront what lay beneath the surface?
At the time, change felt terrifying and reckless. I woke each morning with a tight knot in my stomach and acid reflux burning my throat. After asking for a separation, I feared for my children’s well-being and worried I might fall into so much despair I wouldn’t be able to function. If that happened, I might as well have stayed where I was.
Shortly after moving back “home” to San Diego and renting an apartment for just my boys and I, I stumbled upon a framed print in a going out of business section of a boutique. It depicted a beautiful woman with roses in her hair and butterfly wings. It read I Choose Hope.
In spite of a tight budget, I bought the seriously discounted picture and hung it on my bedroom wall. I wanted something more for myself and the people I loved, and I was taking steps to make that happen. I was that woman in the picture. I was choosing hope.
Today, in this particular moment, I feel like Hope won. My ex is living with a smart, ambitious woman who truly gets him and inspires him. I have a man in my life who I would chose spending time with over John Mayer and every other celebrity I’ve ever crushed on (Keanu Reeves and Javier Bardem are totally crying right now that they can’t have me).
Most important, my children have adjusted to their shifted reality and truly appreciate the new people in their life. We are all proving that a nuclear family, society’s ideal, can change for the greater good and still grow emotionally and spiritually stronger.
I am days away from closing escrow on my very own home, one week away from starting another school year with my boys as a single mom, and less than a month away from releasing my first novel, Kingston Court, into the atmosphere.
Life is messy and complicated. What shows incredible promise today could end in failure or disappointment. The Vegas house could be more square footage and responsibility than I can handle, the boys may need more from me than I can give, my book could be ridiculed or ignored, nothing but a huge waste of time.
There’s a scene I adore from an old Steve Martin movie, Parenthood.
Steve Martin’s character, Gil, is complaining to his wife about his crazy life. Grandma wanders into the room.
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh what a ride!
Gil: What a great story. (extreme sarcasm)
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
I agree, and I’m taking a leap of faith in betting it will all work out.