As a young girl, I often fantasized about what my life was going to look like when I “grew up.” I would get a college education, marry a man my family approved of by the time I was in my early 20’s, we would buy our first home together, and start a family by the time I was 25 years old.
I manifested what I call, “The Checklist Life.” I checked every single item on my list that I thought would deliver me the happily ever after I dreamed of. One by one, I achieved every one of those goals. It almost seemed too easy.
It was not until my mid 30’s that I first experienced the nagging pit in my stomach, you know the one, that insidious nudge that tries to get you to look. I thought to myself, “What is this? Now’s not the time to pay attention, Marisa, keep going.” If I didn’t acknowledge it or say it out loud, maybe it would go away.
Denial became a constant companion. Whenever the nag would try and get my attention, I would suppress it and refocus back to the checklist. I had a life to attend to, and it was a pretty good one. What was there to complain about, I was living the dream?
But the nag was relentless. It wasn’t letting up, and the simmer was starting to low boil. It’s hard to ignore heat when it starts to rise. “I’m doing everything I am supposed to be doing. My family is proud of me. Everyone is happy. Life is so effortless.”
Why couldn’t it be enough? Why did it feel like I was drowning like I was living a life that wasn’t my own? “I can’t just throw away everything I worked for and start over. Do you have any idea the devastation you will cause, Marisa?”
But, what would the devastation be if I continue to neglect this voice? Would I regret putting down the checklist and lean in closer to hear what it had to say? The voice had no regard for what was on the list; its only concern was that I had been neglecting this conversation for way too long, and my time had run out.
I was left with nowhere to hide, and there was no more room to write on the list. I couldn’t escape this deep-rooted inner knowing.
I had no choice but to embrace the stillness; to sink into the deepest part of my being; to reconnect to what I had ignored for way too long, my inner spirit.
What I discovered was that my spirit didn’t care that on paper, my life looked amazing, or that everyone else was proud of my accomplishments. It also wasn’t concerned with this notion of where I thought my life should be.
What my spirit was concerned with was knowing that I wasn’t living my life’s purpose and that I wasn’t living a life that was my own. I wasn’t living my truth because I didn’t even know what that was. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with the one person that mattered most, me.
Instead of saying this isn’t where my life should be, maybe it was precisely where my life was supposed to be. Perhaps in order to find myself, I had to first completely lose myself in a checklist that was doomed to go up in flames.
Who’s to say where your life is supposed to be? I wasn’t in a race to some imaginary finish line. There is no finish line. I let go of the need to compare myself to those around me and listen to the only voice that mattered, my own.
In the process of surrendering is an opportunity to rediscover who you are and not who you think you need to be or who others think you should be. “True power comes from standing in your own truth and walking your own path.”–Elizabeth Gilbert. So put the checklist down and move to the beat of your own heart.
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If you are going through a divorce and you’re feeling alone, confused, or stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.