Self Help Blog Austin

Growing Pains Mean You Are Headed in the Right Direction

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Change. Somehow in my forty-eight years, I have craved the opposite of change. In fact, I hate change. I really do. I convinced myself that I wanted a life that was stable. Predictable. Conventional. Free of the twists and turns that would require me to prove myself, over and over again.

I labored in the misconception that everyone else’s life was like that. Except for mine, of course. By personal summation, I always consider myself < other people. Don’t let the confident attitude fool you. It hides a great deal of self-doubt underneath. And an ever louder sense of personal deficiency.

Things I don’t have (anymore) that other people have:

  • Children
  • A house and mortgage
  • Tons of savings
  • Zero debt (I did before I moved to Texas) 🙁
  • Physical fitness
  • Work and life balance
  • Vacations

To clarify, I am not jealous of people around me who have achieved those things. I mean, I’ve done some big things in other domains of my life. I am now 100 lbs lighter than I was in 2007. Yep! #FlexFlex… that’s a big deal. And I continue to work on that. My career as a Content Manager? Yep! That’s banging. I love working in the cannabis sector and building my marketing career in that direction.

I have a best friend who is my world. A boyfriend I love deeply, who is wonderful and supportive (and super hot and talented). He continues to amaze me. And make my knees weak. And I (finally) love where I live.

A Year Later After I Ended My Marriage

Sometime in February, I made a mental note. One year ago I pulled the final plug on my marriage. And I was surprised that there was no guilt about it. I didn’t feel bad for him. I didn’t feel like a bad person for doing it. I felt like I had sold my life (and happiness) short, by not doing it sooner.

Hey, look at that… growth! People closest to me were encouraging me to end the marriage three years before I did. Instead, like the stubborn Taurus, I fought for it. For the kids. Because I thought I could turn a sinking ship around.

But I was married to someone with no work ethic. Someone who, despite claiming to be a fiercely independent person, was actually not. He was someone who ran away from problems. A horrible money manager, with no sense of direction in life. No goals, other than put in the workday, have a shower, grab his bong and sit his ass on the couch watching TV for the rest of the night.

And no matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t get him to adult. And no matter what I accomplished for us, I was never appreciated for it. I felt like I was a little donkey dragging a truck with four flat tires behind me. And even when I filled the tires with air (You good? Come on, let’s do this together!) they deflated from lack of willpower, diligence, and effort on his part.

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The Echo of Years of Unhappiness

Sometimes I remember certain things my former said. Like “you are leaving the bad life behind you” and “my family is full of love and warmth, you are going to feel so loved!”. Yeah. It wasn’t really like that at all. If I was to sum up my second marriage, I could call it an exercise in exploitation, and rejection.

Certain things echo from my experiences. I have defaulted to assuming people won’t like me. Why? His family made me feel like an outsider. My mother-in-law was the best at that. Some of his cousins, too. Not that they were opposed to having me do free work for their businesses. Nah… that was totally cool.

And I did it, because I wanted to be accepted by them. But over time, I saw a different side to them. A family that put on the mask of love and acceptance, but was very siloed. Gossiping. Malicious but covertly, in a “Bless your heart” kinda Texas way. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to belong to that family, no matter how hard I tried.

Today, I know that they were not good enough for me.

And that shift in awareness is a positive one. I forgive them for treating me the way they did. I don’t think they know how much it hurt, or are even aware of their toxicity.

And I forgive myself, for allowing it to persist as long as it did.

Ending My Social Relationship to the Metaverse

I have spent a lot of time in online communities. First, in chat communities like mIRC, where I started to make nerd friends (like me) around the world. I loved the social engagement. Meeting new people. And learning more about their lives. I’m a social creature. I find humans fascinating.

I segued into Second Life around 2008. At the time I found SL, I was BROKE! I had emerged from my first marriage to be self-supporting in Toronto. Expensive on a $39k salary. To be honest, it was virtually impossible. My dog ate better than I did for the first eight months. And I was saddled with some post-divorce debt to contend with too.

Second Life became a place for me to party like I wanted to in Toronto. Flirt with men. Meet new female friends. Flex and repair my damaged mojo. But the best part of it, was that it was affordable. All I needed was internet, and to log in to a metaverse where lots of social things were happening. I also did cool stuff too, like wrote and produced a play of sonnets, called “Hypatia of Alexandria“. And spoken word poetry.

It was like college again. Female friends and male love interests. But I got a lot of good things from Second Life too. A mentor, that nudged me into subcontracting as a freelancer. And that put me on a new life path, where I could become self-supporting and working 100% from home, as a freelance marketer.

Breaking from Online Community and Investing in Real Life Social

At this stage in my life, I did the evaluation. Spending excessive time online, for me, isn’t healthy. I need humans around me. I need to build new friendships that align with the things I love to do. Live music, events, grabbing a drink with a few friends. Hiking! Art things, and of course spoken word.

My disenchantment with Second Life feels like another divorce, in a strange way. Reality vs. virtual reality, if you are capable and able to engage that way, is always better. I need real hugs, not scripted ones. I love real kisses and cuddles, not avatars mushing faces.

I like this direction, even though it makes me feel sad to be finally “over it” when it comes to hanging out in the virtual world I used to love so much. For each new friend I make in Austin, I feel happy. Blessed. And excited about a future where my offline social is better than anything I could experience online.

Because it’s tangible. I can touch it, and feel its warmth. And to me, that’s real. An improvement to my life I can feel.

Work Work Work …

Starting a new job? Uphill climb. Particularly when the department is new. I think it’s been a long time since I worked myself to exhaustion. I did it in the past two weeks. The good news? Things seem very aligned and I hope for a more predictable and productive week, now that processes are in place.

It took me two months to accept a new job. And I was HUSTLING to find that job. Nothing is scarier than losing your income source without having a backup. When I work salaried, my employer and company is my sole focus. I didn’t have a safety net when the M&A tanked my job in January. And pulled the rug out from under me.

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But I navigated it like a champ (pat on the back) and found an even better company to call home. One that has a culture of reward that inspires me to bring even more of my A-game to the table. Because there are intrinsic rewards to be had.

So far, it seems like they understand they got a superstar employee. Awesome! Now let me show you what else I can do. When I am treated with respect, rewarded for performance, and when my ideas and creative concepts are actually heard.

A step in the right direction too. Gunning for those bonuses! Yaass! But man, I am tired. It has been grueling to be sure. Some people were stressed to the max. I was too. But I dug in, and I think things are going to be streamlined this week and awesome. So, it was worth the struggle and I feel grateful for the opportunity. I see what they are building at my new company; and I want to be part of that growth.

Growing Pains in Every Aspect and Domain of My Life

Catharsis comes before great changes. Just like destruction is part of creation. And while I feel tired recently, I am also aware that, for the girl who really doesn’t like change, it is all around me. I’ve been changing constantly for the past four years. And now, celebrating my first year alone, I am still, and probably always will be, changing.

Does a spring flower pause to catch its breath, as it strives for the surface to meet the sun? No. Day by day and step by step, it pushes upward with all its might, toward the light. The growth through the darkness is minimal compared to the growth that happens when it finally, breaks the surface.

If nothing was changing would I be happy? How much would I hate myself if nothing was getting “fixed” or improved? A lot, actually. This marriage messed me up financially and emotionally. In ways that will take years to fix. And bites out of my confidence that are just now, starting to heal up a little.

As I remember who I really am. The girl who always tries harder, and never quits. And the girl who still (despite proclamations) believes in the possibility of sharing a life with someone again someday. An equal partner in all ways. And building the kind of happy existence I always wanted. Beside a man with a heart as big as mine. And of equal integrity, drive, and compassion for those that matter most to him.

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I Believe Good Things Can Happen to Me

I belive that kind of companionship is possible. Probable, in fact. Because after weathering all these growing pains, as I shed my old life and mistakes, and forge ahead, I have a clear picture of what I expect from my next (and hopefully last) partner.

A complete divine chemistry, and fit. Laughter, passion and love. And unwavering loyalty to each other. And I know it exists because sometimes, I see it around me, in other relationships. I feel the satisfaction of it, even if I am sure I have never known it myself.

Maybe by setting my heart to accept no less, I can be assured that I’ll realize that heaven on earth too. It happens to some people so, why not me? I’m not a bad person. On days when I love myself just a little more, I consider that I am actually worthy of that kind of love. That it could happen.

Because that’s all I ever really wanted. One great love to last a lifetime. However antiquated the mythology of it sounds in our modern day. I believe it is still possible. My authentic happiness in life, is still possible. In all domains.

author

Midlife Debutante

A forty-something single woman, with too many small dogs. Marketing professional, creative writer, and culinary disaster (but always trying). You'll find me outdoors as often as possible, or on a patio people watching and writing.

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