A good friend once said to me, “Once a woman reaches age 40, she becomes comfortable in her own skin.” At the time, I had no idea what she meant because I was only in my early 30's. Although I have not quite reached 40, I finally feel like I understand. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me; I know what I want, I know how to get it, and I won’t allow anyone to stand in my way again.
However, in my past, I allowed one of my two former spouses to hold me back. I don’t know what my final deciding factor was in ending the relationship; perhaps it was my upcoming 10 year wedding anniversary. I sure didn’t look forward to another 10 years of prison. If I had stayed in the marriage, I know without a doubt that I would not have enrolled in college again; among one of many things. At that point in time, it would have been too much on my plate because I did not have the support at home to make it possible.
So, after a thousand setbacks, I’ve recently realized some important life lessons.
1. I’m learning to appreciate everything more and not rush anything.
2. Time slips away so quickly and what seems like an eternity will soon become a memory.
3. Most important, I know I am the only person responsible for allowing anyone to keep me from success. It may be true that I have many years of bad choices to make up for, but I would rather focus my energy on the future; if only for one day at a time. After all, it’s the past that has shaped me into the strong, determined, hard working mother and wife that I am today.
Regardless, I wish I would have stepped "out of the box” many years ago because doing anything at my age (and in my situation) is much more difficult than it would have been when I had more energy, time, and freedom.
Being comfortable "in my own skin" has shown me not to become consumed with what kind of challenges lay ahead; I am sure there are many. All I can do is deal with life as it happens and be as prepared as I possibly can. I now have the support at home, and with my determination and strength, I know I have no choice but to press on.
Therefore, I feel the following lyrics from In the End by Linkin Park are suiting to me since I have left the old me in another place and time.
“…In spite of the way you were mocking me, acting like I was part of your property.
Remembering all the times you fought with me, I'm surprised it got so far.
Things aren't the way they were before, you wouldn't even recognize me anymore
(Not that you knew me back then)…
…You kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart.
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when I put my trust in you…”