In Transformation Part 1 I shared my trauma, here, in part 2 I share more of the journey. The new life that emerged after I went home to heal
After three months of healing at home with my family, I slowly begin feeling the urge to take my life back. I’ve not only spent time mourning my baby but also a relationship, doomed from the beginning, but still a painful chapter in my life.
Feeling stronger and more ready, I begin working, connecting more with friends and moving beyond my loss. A new life comes into play as I make new friends and connect with old ones. Within a year I quit my job as a corporate trainer in Massachusetts and move to NYC, my hometown, and begin living my dream life.
As I look back I can see one problem, I’m living ‘safe‘. The fire I had within to forge new paths and live new adventures isn’t there.
New York City
In 2000 I start working at an investment bank in their presentation center. It’s a group of young artists making their way in NYC and sharing big dreams, while doing what it takes to pay the bills. Being in that environment fed me emotionally and creatively. Something I didn’t realize until much later.
That’s where I meet the most amazing man. Of course, at the time I didn’t know how amazing he was since I kept dodging his advances. I’m sure it was self-sabotage. A way to keep myself occupied with emotionally unavailable men, so I don’t have to get hurt. But it gets old. I’m older than most of the friends I’ve made in NYC and it feels like everyone’s leaving me behind.
So again I make a few promises to myself:
- I will go out with any man, whatever his race/ethnicity, that asks (within reason)
- I will find and buy a home of my own
- It’s time to be more adventurous, a new life is bubbling forth
No sooner had I made those promises, my friend and co-worker, that amazing man I told you about earlier, asks me out, again. This time, instead of saying an insincere yes, I mean it. He’s a white guy from middle America, he’s clearly only curious, not serious, but he’s a friend, he’s nice and I promised myself to give the bold a chance.
In every decision we make there’s a glimmer of hope. There’s the possibility that it will light the fire within and change our lives.
We go on our first date, have an amazing time and continue to see each other through the spring and summer of 2001. We get engaged in the spring of 2002 and married in January of 2003. Life is good, things are going well, but there’s a nagging inside that there’s more to be done. More that I can do. More I need to do! But the easiest options, the safest options are my default.
It’s now been ten years since my loss. I’m 37 I’m an Executive Assistant, loving my job and enjoying being married. We’re living in California, a place I never thought I’d get to, but here we are and life is good.
Our internal lights flicker at various times along our journey. If they stay lit, is up to us.
I get wind that the Executive Assistants are getting industry raises, but I haven’t gotten one yet. So, mustering my courage, I go into my boss’ office and request a raise. There’s a flicker. I get the raise, a huge raise and a boost to our lifestyle and my confidence.
Then I get pregnant. I know what can happen. Do old fears creep up? I’m not sure. We’re excited but cautious because it’s taken us two years to get to this point. So, when I go into pre-term labor at 20 weeks, and my doctor puts me on bed rest I’m again committed to lay for as long as it takes.
Flashes of ten years earlier come to the forefront. This time I’m doing it “right.” Safe and safety mode kick in and after 3.5 months our baby’s born. He’s healthy and I’m again going with safe choices. We leave L.A. and move home with my parents because my husband’s finished school and the L.A. air quality isn’t good for his health. I retreat to doing it “right”.
As I look back I realize that I’d set myself to default mode.
Default mode is when you’re going along with what’s easy, the basic programming or factory installed basics of a situation.
When I was a real estate agent I’d see lots of houses. The ones that couldn’t be priced very high were the ones that were in ‘default mode’, meaning they had builder’s choice decor. They weren’t updated or improved on in any way.
If we look at our lives we can see how we move along in default. We, especially as women, don’t want to rock the boat. We fall back on old beliefs, practices or ways that allow us to fit into our environment. That’s what I was doing.
Instead of boldly forging my way forward, I operated in the easiest mode available, fell back on outdated software and shrunk so I wouldn’t be too big for the life and space I was living.
How are you living in default? What are some things you’re putting off, ignoring or missing because they’re too “hard?”