What I Am Most Proud Of

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loveI’m in the middle of hosting a blog challenge as I’m writing this (although it will be shared a bit down the road so I don’t overwhelm my readers) and today’s inspiration is to write a blog post about something we are most proud of.

A few years ago, I would have told you I didn’t think I had that much to be proud of.  I would have said that because I believed that it was rude to brag and I frequently felt that my accomplishments weren’t good enough. So I just kept most of them to myself.

In reality, I have a lot to be proud of…raising two beautiful daughters, having a home I love, knowing what’s important to me and what I’m most passionate about, being willing to take a good hard look at myself when things are flowing, working my way up to management in my last career with no degree (yes, they actually redid the job description to make me eligible for the position), being willing to leave that job when I realized it wasn’t serving me well, leaving a home and a marriage and a small town when I realized they were also not serving me well, and now building a successful business.

In reflecting on this topic today, I think the thing I am most proud of is how I have transformed some of my relationships in my life.  I am most proud of this because relationships are really friggin’ hard work.  It takes a lot of personal reflection and then also the willingness of not just one but two parties to make it work.  You need to find a common ground…a space where the two of you can exist as individuals and as a couple.  I have learned so much about what I value in a relationship and in another person and am quite content with my current relationship…an outcome I never saw coming.

You see, it is with my husband of 20+ years.  The two years we spent apart, we continued to be friends and, as we spent time growing as individuals, explored other relationships, and grew closer as friends…it just continue to build until we were spending every day together and loving most of that time (no relationship is perfect, right?).  He sees the changes and growth in me and I see them in him.  I would tell him that I am the same person….simply open and receptive to life and to love.  He insists he hasn’t changed a bit and yet myself and both our daughters would tell you he is more present, more open and more engaged.

We laughed this summer as we realized how far we’d come and, if anyone had predicted this outcome, we would have both laughed at them.  And here we are.  Very much in love.  Very much enjoying life as individuals and as a couple.  And very much living together once again.

Some might look at this and think we settled for the easy, comfortable path and that is very much not the case.  We have never had a relationship in this space…not from day one.  I used to wonder why we ever got married in the first place.  It’s not that we didn’t love each other but I don’t think that either of us had any understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like.  There were things that happened early on that, I think, shut us both down emotionally and I’m not sure either of us were fully present ever.

In many ways, I see how much work it has taken to get here and yet it doesn’t feel like a lot of work.  I know there were many tears and conversations over the past couple of years and that’s what relationships take.  And they can be hard.

I feel so much wiser and knowledgeable about myself and how I show up in a relationship and I will spend the rest of my life being mindful of my tendencies, my triggers, and remembering to stay focused on what’s most important to me rather than sweating the small stuff.

Someone asked me this past weekend if I had any regrets about leaving in the first place and moving away.  My answer was absolutely not.  We would never be here if I hadn’t had the courage to do what I did.  We’d still be living in misery, in lives that ran somewhat parallel but never really intersected…and what’s the point in that?

And today we are riding our bikes, picking raspberries, taking photos, camping, going to concerts, hosting Thanksgiving dinner and picking out Christmas lights together.

Life is too short…way to short.   I’d rather spending it living, loving and laughing.

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