If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? It is a question often asked of people. For me, it would be an easy, quick answer….absolutely nothing. NOT A SINGLE WORD. I can hear some of you now. Seriously, nothing? Not a single word? Yea right! But I wouldn’t. I know for a fact that my younger self would not listen to a single damn word I would have to say! But, oh there would be lots to say. Never mind the typical things like don’t date this person, or do not do this or that. Hindsight is always 20/20. I am talking about the over all big lessons I have learned in life so far.
You Are The Company You Keep:
You have heard the sayings “You are the company you keep” or “Birds of a feather always flock together”? I agree 100%. Although most people think the sayings are negative, I do not think that is always the case. I think that people tend to gravitate towards people that are of like minds. I am a firm believer that what you put out into the Universe you get back. Put out negative thoughts and that is exactly what you attract back to you. People that constantly think the worst or are always negative. People that are positive are the obviously the ones that think positive thoughts and tend to be truly happy in life.
I am a think positive kind of person, optimist if you will. I can honestly say I was more on the pessimist side of life for a very, very long time.
From as far back as I can remember, there was always some kind of drama going on in my life. Often inflicted on me all by myself. I picked my battles, but they were often not the smartest of battles to pick! Insert the eye roll and shaking of my head as I laugh at my own stupidity. My friends were not healthy for me. They were just as drama filled as I was. They drank constantly, used drugs or did both. Thankfully, I stopped doing that in my late teens. They manipulated people. They complained about life and thought that it owed them for all they had been through.Those friends that were not drama filled, were in the background also rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at me. There was always a crisis of something or another happening. The world was always out to challenge me, ALWAYS. I could not find the humor in anything. I had a lot of stress. Lots of headaches and lots of tension in my muscles. None of it did this heart or body any good.
I was out my parents house, had a child and was married before I was even 22 yrs old. I loved my husband, but was not in love with him. I questioned my choices and was told it was what I was supposed to do and how it was supposed to be. I think it was the same thing for him. He loved me, but was never in love with me. I can see that now. There was a lot of hurt and unhappiness in our marriage. From the time my oldest daughter was a year old, I went to my husband and told him I was not happy and wanted out of the marriage. I was always talked into staying. Promises made and never kept on both ends. Threats (my daughter would be taken away from me, I would be found unfit to raise her because I was working 2-3 jobs) were made that I believed to be real. Maybe they would have happened, maybe not. I was not willing to chance it though. I told myself that the day I was truly tempted by anyone else, that the thought ever entered my mind, would be the day I walked away from him completely. We both went through the motions and raised our daughter the best we thought we could. Both knowing it was over though. I was introduced to someone, by a friend of mine. He became a mutual friend of both my husband and I. He was active duty military and would come to visit while on leave. During this time my husband and I separated but stupidly decided to remain living in the same house while we tried to figure out what to do as far as custody went. My daughter had to draw a picture of her home and family for school. She drew the main level of the house. Family room, office, kitchen on the first level. One the second level of her drawing was my bedroom, the bathroom, her room, and her dad’s room. She told the story that her parents lived in the same house but each had their own bedroom. And there was often a lot of fighting and no I love you’s. Her teacher told her she had to redo the assignment because she did it wrong. Mommys and Daddys do not have their own bedrooms. My daughter came home in tears. Here was my wake up call. Time to put on my Biggie Girl Mommy Pants. My daughter thought this was what a marriage was all about.
Needless to say, it would be after 8 years of being married to him before I would say the words “I am done and I can not do this anymore” before finally getting the courage or strength and walking away from the loveless marriage. I never cheated on my husband. Not once. I realized at the same time my daughter was in trouble for the drawing, that I was in love, madly deeply in love. I needed to live up to the promises I had made to myself. It was time to move on with my life. Not for this guy I was in love with. Hell, I never told the guy I was in love with him. I did not tell anyone. Nothing had even happened between us. I did not act on it, show it, or anything. I needed to do this for myself and my daughter. I needed to step up and be the parent, a grown up, and finally an adult. I began to research divorce and custody. It was a bitter pill to swallow. At this same time, the mutual friend and I began to get closer. Ironically enough, he was the one I was in love with. I still kept it a secret. I had no idea that he felt the same way about me. He came with me to my attorney’s office while he was on leave. He asked my attorney if he could finally ask me out on a date. I was stunned. The attorney laughed and said I had been able to date even before I filed for divorce because I was already separated. It was then that we finally began dating. We dated long distance for over a year. It would be another 2 1/2 years of battling for custody and finalizing the divorce before this chapter in my life would be over.
Much Needed Simplifying:
Here is the cliff notes version of the next couple of years of my soup opera worthy life. I was now finally divorced and remarried to the man that I fell in love with. The custody arrangement was not going so hot. We were back in court a lot for it. I moved to another state, had a daughter, moved 2 more times, lost what would be my only son going into my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, lost a year of my life to major depression from his loss, walked away from all religion for awhile again over the loss of my son, went on meds (for the blood clots that killed my son) that I ended up having serious side effects from, got off the meds, got out of the depression, had my 3rd daughter, passed thousands of clots and landed in ICU in critical condition.
When I hit the ICU with the blood clots, I had 2 weeks filled with lots of time to think. I was not allowed to move. I just laid there in my bed and thought about my life so far and what I wanted it to be like in the future. I needed to get positive. For the first time, I began to be grateful for what I had. What lessons I had learned and what lessons I had not learned yet? Obviously I needed to change things. After I left the hospital, I cocooned myself and began to think about what I really needed to do to heal. I changed my diet and that was beginning to change my body’s health. But what about my mental health? What could I do to change that? I decided to try a new way to get healthy in my mind. Each day I woke up and told my self something I was grateful for in my life. It was easy things like I can see with my eyes, I have amazing kids, I can breathe easier today, I am alive, I have a beautiful home, clothes on my back, I can think, I can move, etc. Every night, I would reflect of something positive that happened that day. It was things like I cooked something by myself, I was able to walk up the 15 steps to my upstairs and not have to stop every 2 steps. I made it another day without throwing a clot. The more I did this, something inside me changed. I closed the doors on old friendships that were negative. I did not need to feel that way anymore. Nor did I want to. I stopped gossiping. Stopped the arguing over things that really didn’t matter and never would matter. The more I began to change my mind set, the more I really found myself. I began to watch people walk out of my life that were negative and filled with drama and was really ok with it. I found that I would rather not have any “friends” than have the type of friends that dragged me down and made me feel like they were always in a crisis. Those friends did not return in a staring role of “Mindy’s Life”. In fact, the soap opera I have now titled “Mindy’s Drama” was canceled. And I am not sad to say there are no reruns or any talks of syndication in the future.
In “Mindy’s Life”, I get to be a survivor, who truly loves her life and all that she has been blessed with. I have a hand full of friends and family that I have chosen to surround me, that are happy and loving life too. Food is my friend and not my enemy. I laugh now instead of cry at the tough things in life. Our shower stall in the master bathroom rotted and as a result water POURED like a waterfall down into my main level of my house. We had water everywhere. We were lucky. What we didn’t know at the time was that our attic ceiling was about to cave in and fall into the staircase. It could have killed someone. We discovered it when we had to rip out the sloping part of the stairway ceiling and the wall to get to the plumbing. Instead of getting frustrated that this happened to us, I was so thankful for it! That is just one of the many things that have happened to us over the years that we just looked at each other and said OK, time to move on. We can survive anything that is thrown at us. We are not victims of life, it does not owe us anything. It never has.
Know When To Walk Away:
I recently joined a support group for people that have PTSD. I was so excited to join the group. I thought I would finally meet people that would get the struggles I go through daily and that it would help me learn different new ways to deal with my PTSD. However, that was not what I found in the support group. I found myself back tracking instead. It was like the happiness was being replaced by the sorrow and despair of others in the group. It was not from their stories. I found strength from their stories. These were people that had survived for what ever reason. The issue I had was from how they were choosing to live their lives. I do not think that I am better then them, or that I am stronger then them, or that they are wrong for their choices and paths they are taking. I just realized that I was on a different path then most of the people in the group appeared to be. It did not take me long to realize that the group was not a right fit for me and it was not where I needed to be. I walked away from it.
Change Your Thought Process:
I realize that no matter what, my life could always be far worse then what it is. I am almost 100% stress free. To be 100% stress free means you are dead. Been there, done that (a couple of times actually) and am in no hurry to be there anytime soon. I pick my battles now with some serious kick ass knowledge of what is important and what just isn’t worth my time anymore. Something my younger self would not understand without living through all of the other stuff. I would not get the importance of any of it. How selfish I was. When I feel myself sliding into any kind of darkness, all I have to do is think about all that I have, what all I have survived, and what all I have to look forward to in my life.
So do I do the whole “30 days of Thankfulness” you always see around November time frame? Nope, I choose to do the whole 365 days of Thankfulness. Hard to be a pessimist when you are so damn thankful for everything in your life!