To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. – Shakespeare
It occurred to me this morning that it is just me. Usually when I think about this, it is a lonely feeling. Mom and Dad are gone, I have no children, so it is just me. And it will be just me at the holiday season. But something else happened, I realized that this can be a celebration rather than a pity party.
This morning while talking to the counselor, she asked what the roots I am looking for look like. I told her family and friends. She said no who, what…And to think about that. Those core values and things that are important to who I am, what I want my life to be and what I want it to feel like.
Beyond family and friends, there is service, faith, love, adventure and travel, and writing. Because it is just me, I can make my roots, my life what I want it to be. That statement and task can seem very daunting and overwhelming in its bigness. It’s the entire world, the whole universe, how can I choose? How can I possibly comprehend an expanse that vast?
But when you define who you are not only by people, but by values, then the focus comes into sharper view. It is still the universe, but by defining those core values that are my roots, I know where to look in the world to follow who I am and hope to be.
What if during the holidays, for example, I fill myself with these roots, so that I can serve and give to others? That way I can celebrate it just being me and that options are open, instead of it being such a lonely time. I have always wanted to be home on Christmas Eve, in my own bed. What if this Christmas I am? What if on Christmas Eve I snuggle up with my furry babies or what if I have people over? What if I celebrate and carry out Mom and Dad’s legacy that way? What if I follow how I want life to feel, and fill myself with love, faith, service…so that my friends and family can enjoy my fullness? What if I am true to myself and bring life to me? what is that old saying about change your attitude and change your world?
When something happens that shakes us to the core, whether it is a divorce, loss of parents or child or other loved one, loss of job, love or whatever, we can struggle to figure out who we are afterwards. OK, this event happened, now what? What do I do? where do I start? Who am I? We can get depressed. And that is normal. We have to grieve what we have lost, and that takes time. It takes a lot of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching searching and figuring out. We have to turn ourselves inside out and take a good look in the mirror, then try to turn ourselves right side out again – without strangling ourselves in the process (which for a klutz like me can be hard).
When bad things happen, when our world is torn apart and put upside down, we have a choice: Let it drag us down like a ball and chain, making us bitter, OR using it as a stepping stone to rise above. I choose, and will always choose, the latter. But how? And once you make that decision, what does it look like? I don’t know exactly, but I am in the process of figuring it out. And I think that defining what my roots are, who I am at the core that will not change, is a start. And then staying true to that core, that is how you do it. We can find out together. So stay tuned…
In the meantime, I celebrate. I am not alone in this world, but whatever my life is to be, it has to start with just me.