There is a sign over my fireplace that reads, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” I believe that. To some extent. While I would love to say that it’s “never too late” for most things, reality sometimes reveals the painful truth.
Holidays over the past several years have brought with them ample opportunity for self-evaluation, reflection, and serious contemplation. Growing up, visions of large family gatherings, game nights, and close camaraderie occupied most of my childhood expectations, and did, in fact, manifest themselves in my mid-to-late 20’s. Over time, however, as life, circumstances and changed expectations began to emerge, my warm and fuzzy ideals popped like fragile bubbles, one by one.
I remember the counselor I went to following my divorce, warned me at our very first meeting that as we walked through the process of healing, and I changed the “rules,” I would experience pushback from those who weren’t comfortable with the change. At the time, it seemed an outlandish statement, but as tensions began to slowly creep into several of my familial relationships, I found myself torn between moving forward and pursuing who I felt I was designed to be, and meeting the expectations and honoring the values that my family of origin held so dearly to.
Ultimately, I decided that nearly 3 decades of co-dependency would no longer serve me as well as I had believed such tendencies would, and I began a journey of self-discovery, and relationship-severing, that in my wildest dreams I never could have anticipated.
It’s been such an adventure. Some days I can’t believe how far I’ve come; others I feel like I’ve barely begun to find the fullness and authentic freedom I long for. Still others it would seem that perhaps it might be simpler to go back to what I used to know. It is in those moments, however, when I find that I truly have changed, for I could no longer begin to stuff myself back into that small box again – my dreams, visions, passions and love for myself and authentic relationships, have grown too great in size and reality.
Every now and again I reach out a small olive branch – testing the waters, per se. As we are all on our own personal journeys, I often wonder where and how some of my loved ones are, and long for a fresh start. I wonder if time would prove each of us to be in a different place, a new season. I suppose there is a part of me that holds to those ideals, just a little bit. One can always hope that is’s never too late…