Ten Years Later: Celebrating Being Somewhere Else

The most recent prompt for BlogHer’s 10th-anniversary “Selfiebration” asks “Where were you 10 years ago?” My response also ties into my Wordless Wednesday group’s theme for this week’s link-up, “Melancholy.” 

"Your baggage travels with you" The 3 R's Blog 6-25-2014

I did not like where I was ten years ago. I didn’t like who I was ten years ago. Reflecting on those times as I wrote this brought some of that misery back so clearly that I had to stop, and I wasn’t sure I’d come back and finish it. The fact that I did is, in itself, I think, evidence that I’m no longer where, or who, I was ten years ago.

Wait, that’s not entirely accurate. Geographically, I was in almost the same place then as I am now–about 12 miles southwest, actually, according to Google Maps–and I had the same job, in the same office. I’d recently, and intentionally, lost over twenty-five pounds, which solved a few of my problems, but didn’t make everything all better.

I’d moved halfway across the country two years earlier to get to where I was, and that hadn’t made everything all better either. Your baggage travels with you. I was forty years old, a divorced empty-nester, and living on my own for the first time in my adult life. (Well, technically, at that time, I was a single parent to my dog; my son was in college 2000 miles away and required much less in the way of “active parenting.”) It was lonely. Books and dogs are good company, but they’re just not enough all the time.

a watery cliffside reflection (Maine 2013), The 3 R's Blog

My life wasn’t what I’d expected, or wanted, and it stretched bleakly ahead whenever I though too much about it–so I tried not to. It had all changed so dramatically in just a few years, but I couldn’t envision it changing any more from the small, sad place it had become, and I couldn’t see myself finding the will to make it change.

Actions and decisions initiated by someone else may have brought me to where I was, but I was the one stuck there…until, eventually, that same someone provided the nudge that got me unstuck. When my ex-husband told me he was getting married again, I sunk a little lower and hurt a little more…and then I finally decided I was tired of sinking and hurting, and no one but me could make it stop.

The end of a long marriage truly is something to grieve, but eventually the living need to figure out how to keep living. I found my path out with cognitive behavioral therapy and a low dose of daily medication, and I remain grateful for both. They helped get me to the place where I found the people who have shaped this last decade; Life 2.0, for me–new love, new family, new sense of the future–began at forty-one.

3C's from The 3 R's Blog

And two years after that, my life as a blogger began. Last September, I defined “Three Reasons Why I Blog”: Creativity, Connection, and Confidence. Blogging didn’t really introduce me to any of them, but it helps me nurture them all, especially the last two:

  • I believe in the authentic connections I’ve made with other readers and bloggers, and I don’t want to lose them; I can only hope those with whom I’ve connected feel the same way.
  • And everything that blogging involves–the reading and learning that feed creativity of thought and expression, and which produce communication and connection–continues to help me grow as a person. It’s enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have foreseen a decade ago, and strengthens my sense of my self. Why would I not want that?

I don’t particularly like recalling where, and, who, I was ten years ago, to be honest…but looking back from here and now helps me see a little more clearly just how far I’ve come, and how I wouldn’t really be where, and who, I am now if I hadn’t gone through what I did then.

BlogHer 10th Anniversary "Selfiebration"

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