My goodness, where to begin. As I entered my 30s I definitely knew that life wasn’t what I had expected it to be when I was younger. I mean that in the positive and negative sense – I married a wonderful man, had a great career, but was beginning to wonder at what cost I achieved the professional success. Was all the stress, anxiety, ridiculously long hours and loss of any semblance of a work-life balance worth it? With working so hard and making “good” money, why were we still living paycheck to paycheck? And why didn’t anyone ever tell me that marriage – even a strong one – was a LOT of hard work?
Those concerns sound trivial after the most significant blow occurred in late 2009 – when my younger brother killed himself at age 32. From that moment on I had life before his death, and life after his death. It not only put a lot of things into perspective but also shook me at the core of my being. I didn’t know which way was up (and still struggle with that today). In the blink of an eye, I unexpectedly became an only child, forced to deal with family issues that I was completely unprepared to manage; I had to serve as an information and support system to his friends when I desperately needed a shoulder of my own; but most importantly I had (have?) no idea how to take care of myself or deal with the stress, anxiety and mind-numbing sadness and grief that accompanies something such as a suicide. All of this compiled has taken (and is taking) its toll on my physical, mental and emotional health. For better or worse, I am a different person on a different journey today than I was before that moment when I learned what had happened.
Oh, and then I quit my job and started my own business and became a yoga instructor and became a flying trapeze photographer (and artist in the flying sense) and then a flying trapeze instructor (yes, really) and my husband and I separated and are heading towards divorce. So … there’s all of that too.
Where is my happily ever after? I refuse to believe that it isn’t possible in some form or another, in spite of the drama. But where do I go from here? How do I make sense of the insanity and learn how to take care of myself while at the same time becoming a better person? Even outside of the tragedy, how can I once again capture joy and re-define my “happily ever after” so that it is not only achievable, but also fulfilling?
I definitely know that I am not alone on this kind of journey, be it by choice or circumstance. So let’s see where this goes.