Fear is a Choice

I took the day off work yesterday. I felt like I needed to catch my breathe. Between the stock market volatility and the virus, and preparing for my art show and my divorce, I was feeling overwhelmed. I needed just to think, and organize myself. My art show got moved from March 18th to April 22nd due to the virus, and so many other events got cancelled or rescheduled. My daughter is doing her last few classes of her college career from her bedroom as her University is shut down. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. I am not even sure what to think, or how to act.

I just know that times like this make me stop and take an inventory of my life, which I have been doing a lot lately anyway. I get so busy with a million things going through my brain, that it makes me wonder if I am missing something or not being as efficient as I could, especially in my business. I have received quite a few orders for custom T shirts, and I just want to work on them all day as that is where my passion lies. But I have a full time job in finance and other responsibilities, so it is a balancing act. Plus my emotions from leaving my marriage after 20 plus years are like a rollercoaster. Scenes from my old life will randomly play in my head during the day. They are totally out of context, and almost like a snippet of a movie. When this happens, I am not even sure how I feel. I used to feel sad, now I just watch the memory and say, oh yes I remember that.

I am coming to terms that this is my new life. That I live alone, that I live in Redondo Beach, and this is not a vacation, and I will never return to my house in Portland. That someone I saw almost every day for over 20 years is no longer a part of my life. I guess this happens all the time. People get divorced all the time, and go their separate ways. It is strange not to know what he is doing, but then when I really think about it, he never really told me about himself anyway. So, its not that different, and actually its almost better because I don’t have the frustration of trying to figure it all out.

I started dating again, and some people may say it is too soon. But I know in my heart it is time. If I didn’t, I would feel out of balance. The only way to truly heal my heart is to get it back out there again. Plus it is helping me discover what I want. The dates I have gone on so far have been pleasant and fun. The men are respectful and want to please me. It has been a long time since I dated, and it has definitely changed. I think men are nicer now. They want to talk; a lot! They want to text and check in. When I get a text from a nice man asking, ‘How are you today beautiful?’ It makes me smile and feel good. It makes me realize what I was missing in my marriage. That simple kindness which I craved so badly.

It is a lot though. I have changed everything about my life, and sometimes I want the ride to slow down. I just want to sit and stare out the window and catch up with all the changes. I want to process what I have been through and come to terms with where I am. I am realizing what a big deal it is that I walked out of my home in Portland with 4 suitcases and my car full of personal belongings and never looked back. I didn’t spend months going through my house and organizing, I spent a weekend grabbing what I thought was important and everything else I left behind. Almost like I was running out of a burning house.

It rained here yesterday, and it is overcast today. The ocean is beautiful in the rain, and even though it is overcast it is still close to 60 degrees. Redondo Beach is my home, I feel it. When I first got here I found this amazing Vegan juice place in what people call, ‘The Village’, which is basically the little downtown part of Redondo Beach with the stores and restaurants. I made the juice place my destination on my beach walks. I go there so much that I know the owner, and all the employees. I walked in 2 days ago, and on the one small shelf they have in the store they had my art show flyer up. It wasn’t a shelf with a bunch of other flyers, it was just a couple of books, a plant, and my flyer. I had given it to them to tell them about my show, and they placed it up for everyone to see. It made me so happy. They know me, they like me, and they support me.

It feels so easy here to get that support and that simple kindness that was so elusive to me for so long. I used to feel like life was so hard. I used to wake up and dread the day ahead of me. It was like walking through mud and trying to stay clean all day. Sometimes I can’t believe I left my whole life behind, and other times I can’t believe I lasted as long as I did. For a long time, I was too focussed on making it through the day to even think of planning my future. I don’t know how I let myself go down that path for so long. I guess that is what my brain is processing now. It is so obvious to me now that I wasn’t happy and that my circumstances were never going to change to the point where I would be happy. But who just gets up and walks away from their life? I guess I do. Because that is what I did.

I know this is something I should have done years ago, but I didn’t have the courage. I was stuck. Those stuck years were the hardest, where I knew I should leave but I was too scared. I am slowly forgiving myself for them. As this virus pandemic is reminding us, life is unpredictable. So to stay where I thought I was safe but unhappy, doesn’t make sense anymore. None of us are ‘safe’ from life and its hurts, and the more we try and retreat the more unsafe we are.

I am glad I took the day off work to have some ‘me’ time. I went through boxes I hadn’t looked at since I moved here, and organized my home. I feel good about it. It is a slow shift to moving on. Life is unpredictable, but our resolve in our hearts doesn’t have to be. We can chose love and kindness no matter our circumstances. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know what it doesn’t hold, and that is fear and isolation. I have learned that choice is up to me, and I will never chose that again.