Living an Authentic Life

Today I’ve been ruminating about my past. Not sure why…maybe it’s the holiday season. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been reading posts from Single Dad Laughing and a lot of them are piercing my heart. Maybe it’s that I’ve been remembering old times while writing my last few posts. Whatever the reason, here I am writing what’s on my mind to you.

My life hasn’t turned out the way I expected it to. Is that any big surprise? Does it ever work the way you expect or want it to go? As the quote goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men….” Seems appropriate, don’t you think? God must shake his head when He sees us plotting our course, having expectations, planning our future. What you expect usually isn’t what happens. Or so it is in my case.

I never thought I’d be where I am in life. I look back at the expectations I had for my life and very few of them have survived. I thought I would be married (I was), have children by age 30, have the white picket fence, have a well-meaning and influential career, involved in church, lots of friends, part of a mommy group, family vacations with my parents (all one happy group), and happy…always happy.

Instead, I’m divorced, in a same-sex relationship, not going to church (and tend to avoid it these days), no children at age 35, still just a secretary, working on building friendships, no family vacations (if you don’t count me and my partner), no mom’s groups, no white picket fence, struggling with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and unsettled.

Although I paint a dire picture, it’s not really…it’s just not what I expected or planned for myself. Sometimes it feels as though it’s a loss of dreams…a loss of what I wanted and expected my life to be at this age. Everything is different. Nothing is the same.

The hardest expectation that is broken is children. I watched the Bones season finale several months ago. Angela has been pregnant most of the season and on the finale, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. As I watched her labor, my heart swelled and broke. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I wistfully gazed at the shining boy. It is the dream I long for…I was born to be a mother. My heart aches when I see others so sweetly blessed. A mix of bittersweet and joy. When will it be my turn? Am I meant to be? I’ve raised many in my past that were not my own and I remember the comforting warmth of their body next to mine, the sweetness of their smell, the heaviness of them in my arms, the wonder of gazing into their clear eyes while their fingers wrapped around mine. It is a hole in my world. Something is missing in my life.

Yet, I’m blessed. I know I am. I have a partner who loves me, a family who loves me, a job that provides, true friends, cats who bring me laughter and smiles, doctors who work to bring me physical relief, a God who is always there by my side walking through my days with me, a house to live in, a garden to dig in, flowers that bloom, a sun that shines…what more could I ask for? I don’t need old expectations. They serve no purpose other than to be broken. Being present in true grace is all I need. Living here and now, always. I was always told by someone dear that I would not live the conventional life…how prophetic those words, more than he could ever know.

Dan has been talking about living an authentic life. You have to read his posts. The depth of love, courageousness, and strength are amazing. I can relate. Several years ago, I decided to live an authentic life. Never did I realize what it would cost me. Never did I realize what I would gain.

Are things perfect? Absolutely not. Nothing is perfect in life. But living authentically is the only way to live. Otherwise, your true self withers way until all that is left is a husk of who you once were or could be. That, my friends, is NOT a life worth living. To live an authentic lifestyle requires re-thinking the importance of life itself. It was, and is, challenging to say the least. However, I do know that when you live an authentic life (even in short bursts), you are living in a way that resonates with your inner being. You avoid connecting yourself with destructive habits, relationships or lifestyles. You are in touch with your real self.

From minute to minute, each day, you are the same “you.” People around you don’t have to guess who you are…they just know. At work, at play, at home, you are the same person. “Authentic self” means possessing inner strength. It also means living a life without manipulation, power plays, and hatred.

Being authentic means creating a path in front of you (and behind you) that feels spiritual and natural. Authenticity means you aren’t afraid of the truth. It also means that you deal with fear in a way that builds character and strengthens you instead of debilitating you. It is not an easy path. In fact, it’s one of the hardest choices I ever made. I have the scars to prove it.

But I’ve discovered that living authentically has created a peace and acceptance within myself. I am someone who lives outside the box, colors outside the lines, finds love in unexpected places, has a heart that is too big to be contained. And my life is lived as I am…as I was meant and continue to be, defying expectations and “normal.”

Are you living an authentic life? Tell me about it! If not, what’s stopping you?

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