Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out, and live fully. ~What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey, p. 14
When you open yourself up to something new, I believe the universe, God, a higher power … something, begins to shower you with people, conversations, experiences and opportunities that only reinforce you are headed down the right path.
Day 1 of my Oprah Project happens to be on a Leap Day, my 11th birthday. And with the beginning of my 45th year on this earth, I realized I had a choice to make if I was going to commit to living a full and happy life. I would have to decide wether I was going to let go of all the baggage I’ve been carrying around with me for the past year or so, and begin to move forward and heal, or continue to live entangled inside a web of past regrets and blame.
Today I chose the former. But to do that I had to make a very difficult, yet important decision. If I was to move forward from this oppressive haze I’d confined myself to, I would have to forgive first.
I had to forgive myself for the mental breakdown I had before my bipolar diagnoses.
I had to forgive my husband for not knowing what to do when this happened … so instead he withdrew from me emotionally and physically when I needed him the most.
I had to move past the devastating knowledge that my children saw a side of their mom no child should ever have to see, and pray that I haven’t scarred them too badly, and I have to forgive myself for not being there for them when they needed me most.
I also have made a few other decisions today (some of which began earlier this year).
I’ve decided to stop barricading myself inside my home behind a wall of obsessive thoughts of unworthiness and fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of putting myself out there to the world again. Fear of getting hurt, making a fool of myself and being judged for all of it. Fear of just being me.
I’ve decided to surround myself with people I trust and who believe in me. Who make me laugh, and think, and question everything I’ve ever thought I knew, and who’ve got my back when I need them to.
And I’ve decided to start taking chances, step out of my comfort zone, and, basically, start living again.
And guess what? Someone is listening … I’ve opened myself up to love and acceptance, and I’ve been in inundated with both today, via texts and emails, and yes, even a few Facebook messages.
Yesterday, I made plans to meet an old college friend in Florida in a week (if all goes well with booking an airline ticket we’ll be lounging in the sun together by thursday).
I spent an hour catching up with my very best high school friend today (something we promised to do at Christmastime after a year of distance due personal stuff we had to work out) and we I intend to keep that promise .
I also received a text from my college “twin” who sent me a Happy Birthday message and a sound byte of the Red Hot Chile Peppers song we spent an eight hour road trip listening to over and over again more than 20 years ago. And then another text came, “Happy Birthday sweetheart! thinking of you … Love ya!” from my college friend whom I remain closer to know than I was when we were in school together.
I received an email (and then a text) from my freshman year college roommate , who will always hold a special place in my heart, and the memory of us blubbering in our common room over the other two terribly unthoughtful and mean suite mates who were making our lives miserable.
And then there was the text inviting my husband and I out for a birthday drink from my dear friend of three years or so, who has no idea how much she and her husband have impacted my life.The conversation that ensued, ironically (or perhaps intentionally from that higher power), was all about embracing life, allowing yourself to get uncomfortable, travel, motivation, friendship … Let’s just stay it was probably one of the most profound conversations that ever took place in that little tavern, and would never have happened if I had given my friend my normal anti-social excuses and declined the invitation.
And for the vanilla pudding and whipped cream icing on the cake (no cherry, I hate maraschino cherries) my husband and my kids presented me with the most creative and thoughtful birthday gift I’ve ever received— 11 days of presents for my 11th birthday. Day 1 was flowers and chocolates, cards with personal messages and an appointment for an at-home massage Wednesday.
So, at least for today I am doing what I’ve set out to do.
Today I am opening myself up to the experience of living and I’m stepping up and out … and I intend to do it fully