A few years ago I had a conversation with a business associate who was lamenting the state of his company. In the course of our conversation I made the comment that he had a choice concerning his business model; he could “embrace it or change it.”
That conversation stayed with me as though the person I was speaking to was me -“embrace it or change it.”
My personal life was a mess. I was weighed down by stress. My physical and emotional health was suffering. I wasn’t sleeping well and I was having frequent and random nightmares.
My marriage was in trouble. It had had been for years, but I refused to see the truth of it because my family life was the most cherished part of my identity. I wanted my family to be whole. I wanted my house to be filled with family and with laughter and love. I believed that marriage was supposed to last forever – for better or worse. I had accepted so many years of “worse” that it became my normal. Brief separations, failed attempts at counseling, and many broken promises did not bring about change. I disconnected emotionally and threw myself into work. I ignored blaring red flags because they threatened the life I was desperately trying to hold onto – even at my peril.
Before I could make a change, I had to accept the truth that I was living the life I chose. I was not a victim, I was a participant. I realized that I had to stop hoping things would change. Nothing would change for the better unless I was willing to do something different.
I knew that the radical change I needed would rock my world and I was afraid.
The decision for change came suddenly and unplanned. In a moment of clarity, I simply chose a different response to some of the same behaviors that I had accepted for too long and I left my marriage a few months after we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
It hasn’t been easy. Change rarely is. But with the struggle, I am growing in ways I had never imagined I would. I am rediscovering the creative, playful and adventurous person that I have always truly been. My new home is peaceful. I have less stress and more joy. My health has improved. And I haven’t had a nightmare since.
I don’t have my life mapped out anymore. All I know is that as I step through each new and uncertain door I feel strong. I feel vibrant and expectant. I am full of new hope.