Starting over. It's something that most of us have probably thought about at least once in our lives, because sometimes no matter how sure you are that you have things all figured out and know exactly how your life is going to go -- you wind up getting slapped with a huge dose of reality that knocks the wind out of you and makes you question everything.
And then one day you wake up and look around, and you realize you not only have no idea how in the heck you wound up where you are -- but you also get this sinking feeling that you've somehow settled for a life that is not meant for you.
That's what happened to me. I settled. I listened to my head and ignored my gut. Because at 26 years old, I didn't know who in the world I was, let alone what I truly wanted in life. I only knew what I was "supposed" to have. My "supposed to" included being married to a guy with a great career. And a big house in the suburbs. And a couple of kids and a dog and financial security and weekend trips to the coast and eventually a beach house ... or maybe a place on the lake in the mountains. You know -- all the stuff that sounds picture perfect and oh-so-rosy on paper, even though it's as superficial as it gets.
Yeah. At 26, all that sounded pretty darn great to me. And so I listened to my head and got married and ignored the messages the little voice inside of me was so desperately trying to send me. Looking back, I think I knew in my gut that I'd made a mistake as early as my wedding reception. Dead serious. (Sorry Mom & Dad. It really was a great party.)
There were plenty of signs, and I ignored them. And I tried. I really did. I tried to somehow make myself fit the mold of this life I'd chosen as my forever when I was young and stupid and didn't know any better. But the truth is, the life I chose was never tailored just for me, so I was never going to fit into it no matter what I did.
Fast forward to 10-plus years later and the whole starting over thing. I finally did it. I realized that the only way I was ever going to have the chance to be happy again was to leave my marriage and go out and try and find the life I was meant for.
I've been officially divorced for about a year-and-a-half now. And even though I have my ups and downs just like any other person, I finally feel like I'm "me" again. Mary Julia Hawkins. (Yes, I went back to my maiden name.) I'm happy. I have a career I love. I own my own home. I breathe easier. And I'm more than ready for whatever happens to come next for me.
Starting over from scratch is actually what inspired me to launch my new personal blog, which will be up and running soon, which I called "Catching the Next Wave." A good friend of mine referenced that phrase one night as a way of describing people who are entering into the next phase of life and hoping to get things right the second time around. And I guess that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm catching the next wave of my journey, and I'm hoping I somehow manage to make it to the right shore this time.
It's never too late to start over, even though the idea of making such a huge change can be a little scary at times. We only get one life, and if something about it is not right, and you are stuck in a relationship or situation that does not fit and is not meant for you -- you absolutely have the right to do whatever you feel is necessary to fix it.
Sometimes life doesn't work out the way you planned. But believe it or not, sometimes having everything fall apart is exactly what HAS to happen to make us whole again.
Don't be afraid to break out of your mold if that's what needs to be done. I promise everything is going to turn out ok -- and I assure you that there is another wave waiting to carry you where you need to be. You just have to have the courage to get back on the surfboard.