I was 13 when I went to my first youth group event. I had never heard of it prior to my freshman year in high school. All my friends were doing it so...WHY NOT!? I went and continued to go on and off for the remainder of my high school years. Looking back I think parts of it were very helpful in those formative years as I didn't have a strong guidance coming from home. However, being an adult now I realize some of what I was taught also put the world and how I viewed it in a very tight, small and contained box.
Let me explain; growing up I had to rely on myself and my intuition. Not too much guidance if you will. Naturally I gravitated towards some kind of structure. Young life and youth group offered these to me and I was very eager to jump on board! There were rules, guidelines, moral codes...instructions. I have always been very good at reading and following directions. It made me feel productive and accomplished as a kid...especially a teenager. And I often was praised and loved for my accomplishments so I was eager to do them and do them well.
These kinds of events are important to our children and I believe they are good. However, I also know there is more to it (I know this now...). Life is seen in black and white when you are young. But once you hit middle age you know for a fact that life is really full of the gray areas. Black & white doesn't actually exist at all. And I believe now as a parent and 40 year old woman that it is important to talk about that.
That life is full of the gray. Drugs are bad...but adults do them all the time. Drinking is bad but again...adults do it all the time. Love is wonderful....unless you lose yourself along the way. Success is going to college, getting married and starting a family...is that REALLY the truth? Is that what I want to teach my kids...HELL NO! In fact, I have never believed in that last story...like ever.
You see...it's all gray. And growing up I never realized that the gray areas is where life is. It's where the discovery of yourself happens. It's the adventure and the loneliness. The scary parts and the fun, exciting parts...It is all the parts in-between that create who we are and ultimately allow us to be our truest selves.
I turned 40 in 2021. It wasn't easy. Not because I turned 40 but because I finally realized I had allowed myself to be living in a box for so long. Even though I am very non-traditional I was still talking to myself as though the rules applied to me. Then 40 hit and like so many people have told me before; something changed. I changed. Suddenly the numbers make it all very real. Half of my life is over, and i allowed other people's boxes to shape me. I have mothered in a way that put my kids, my family and my marriage in a box. Just the fact that I am married is proof that I allowed myself to be put into society's box.
Well, no more boxes. I let go. I let go in big ways. Very big ways. And although sometimes I scare myself I am finding that these goddamn boxes are other people's problems. Not mine. I don't own other people's shit and I am not doing it any longer. The rules no longer apply to me. I am done. Done parenting in a box. Eating in a box. Loving my man in a box. And connecting with other people in a box. I have opened my heart and parts of my mind that I wasn't capable of before. It hasn't been easy. In fact, it has been very uncomfortable. Lots of it is sitting in discomfort, and asking myself very dark questions. Seeking truth and really going within to find out who I am now...and what I want for my world.
I used to think the world was out of my control. That I had very little to do with the outcome. I no longer believe this. In fact, I know it isn't the truth at all. It is a lie. My whole being is vibrating on a different level. It scares me some days and I have to step away from the world to make sure it is my truth and not someone else's. That's usually when I hit the road and go on a week long road trip to center myself.
They say that youth is wasted on the young and now i get it....when we are finally mature enough to truly be our true selves...we have established ourselves in a world that we "thought" we were supposed to create. Some may think of it as sad and it triggers what we call a midlife crises. Me??? I am learning to see it for what I truly believe it to be: The Beginning. Seriously. This is just the beginning for me. My soul has never been more in tune and it's ready to let go...big time.
Health & hugs,