A couple years ago, when the dust of the divorce settled, I began taking a mental inventory of my life. It seemed like a natural next step after spending ten years on a path that I thought was leading “somewhere,” to one day having no idea where the path was, let alone where it was going.
In the inventory-taking process, I realized that there were a few things about me that I didn’t want to be true anymore and some things that I wanted to build into my life.
- For one, I had a bitchy side when I wanted something and didn’t get it. I could be mean. So mean. Embarrassingly mean. People in customer service roles got the brunt of it. If I had a coupon that I wanted to use and something in the fine print prevented that from happening, man, it was like Ursula was unleashed.
- Another, I wanted to be more active. I had never picked up a golf club and I wanted to know how to play. I wanted to paddleboard. I wanted to run again.
- Over the years, I had allowed toxic people too much influence in my life, and I had to make some painfully difficult decisions to protect myself and my daughter. Painful doesn’t really touch how difficult those decisions were to make. And then figuring out how to walk that out in love, while not allowing bitterness or anger to take root. Uffda. (Some of you will have to look that word up, others will know exactly what I mean.)
Somewhere in the trying-to-check-every-next-box-in-life part of my twenties, I got so busy doing just that: checking boxes, pleasing people, adapting to societal norms, I never really thought about what I wanted to be true for me. Not for my mom or what society “said” I should be doing.
So, when found myself at a place of figurative wide open spaces with a bit of new perspective, it was then that I realized, I have been given full capability and resources to build the life I want.
Whatever we sew, we reap. It’s just the way it works. Like Newton’s Laws of Motion. Or the sunrise and sunset. Or the changing of seasons. If I sew love and kindness and grace, I’ll reap love and kindness and grace. If I sew physical activity, I’ll reap being physically stronger. If I sew lies, I’ll reap distrust.
I guess you could call it being intentional. I called it taking steps to building the life that I wanted. I practiced kindness and gratitude more often. I realized that no amount of money saved by a coupon was worth any amount of rudeness. I signed up for golf lessons. I got out on a paddleboard. I spent more time at the beach. I started running again. I set boundaries for relationships.
And then one day, I was talking with my good friend, Marion. Her wisdom and insight have proven invaluable in my life. She, being the smarter of the two of us, knowing that perfectionism runs like an undercurrent in my little mind, said to me, “Kelli, your life will never be perfect. It just won’t. However, it can be beautiful.”
And in that moment, the last piece of the puzzle was put in place.
I can and will build my beautiful life. I can fill it with people and experiences and things that I just love. Sometimes, the things I want to be true require effort and some blood, sweat and tears (just to throw in a cliché for good measure). Sometimes, a little adjustment is all it takes. And sometimes, it’s simple awareness. Putting down my phone or turning off the television and just being present to give myself some space to listen. Sometimes, it’s saying yes to the four-year old. Like when she asked if she could buy a Chinese yo-yo that she found at the store and we spent the better part of an afternoon laughing and playing with a random toy I never would have thought to buy for her. Sometimes it means getting off my lazy hind-end when I’d rather not. Sometimes it means getting on my knees. Being patient. Being steadfast. Being brave.
It won’t and it shouldn’t and it’s probably better that it’s not perfect, but it’s mine. And it’s all I’ve got. And yours is all you’ve got. So, my hope is that you, too, find freedom and fascination in building your beautiful life. And that we can celebrate together who we are and the things that make us, us.
Because, while our lives will never be perfect, they can most definitely be beautiful.
Let’s make them so.