I’ve had a few speed bumps in my 55 years on the planet. (Haven’t we all?) I’ve also had some great successes.
I used to think that if I ever got a tattoo, it’d say “Resilient” because that’s the adjective that I thought best described who I am. My life has had too many great losses, but as a rule, I’ve remained optimistically strong until I made it through whatever loss I was transitioning through at the time.
I realize now that I don’t want to just make it through. Resilience isn’t enough! If I’m going to “be the change,” I have to learn from the loss. I have to grow through the pain. I have to choose. So, for my third act, I am honored to make my choices and to stand firmly in the consequences, so that I grow forward!
After 18 years with my first husband, I was widowed at the age of 40. My twin sons were 15 at the time. This loss profoundly impacted who the three of us are, even now, 15 years later—in many ways, for the better. In other ways, not so much. But we journeyed through our grief and are each whole on the other side.
That journey opened an inner curiosity in me. I began to question everything. My physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health began to shift as I asked questions. As it turned out, I really didn’t need to have any answers because just allowing myself permission to ask the questions was enough. I learned to throw away some random rhetoric that I’d allowed myself to subscribe to. I learned to be more particular about my own choices. I learned, finally, at the age of 40+, to put myself on my own damn list!
I worked hard. I became very successful in my career as a multi-unit manager. I built teams and championed my people. But as I moved through the next decade, I found myself committed to a company that wasn’t valuing its human resources. What is more important than acknowledging and validating each human in our life? In my mind, nothing. I began to ask some hard questions once again. In the beginning of 2017, I realized that I wasn’t going to just be resilient and make it through. I wanted more. So, what was I willing to accept as the consequence of blowing up my current life in favor of a whole new experience? As it turns out, pretty much every single thing!
Fortunately, by that time I’d also found a partner who believed whole-heartedly in me and willingly supported me unravelling my current life for a more authentic model. Luckily, I also continue to have the support of my wonderful grown children, who assured me that if I fell, they’d be willing to help catch me!
My first step was to be curious about what I’d want my life to look like—if all the choices were in my control. Which was the lane that rang true for me? What did I truly need—materialistically, spiritually, and financially—to live a life authentic to me? Once I achieved that clarity, I took the next step: I set my intention.
If you’re on this path, make sure you’re ready to get out of your own way when you’re clear where you’re headed! If you need it (and I did), get a coach, a therapist, and/or a spiritual mentor. It’s vital to clear away any unhealthy messes you’re still clinging to.
Over time, I began to plan the logistics. I cannot stress the importance of remaining curious and open while you’re planning! The universe will open for you when you begin your journey toward authenticity…but you’ve got to keep your eyes open to ensure you see the path ahead.
Of course, what followed has been a year and a half to remember! I used my retirement nest egg to pay for tuition and have now completed a year-long certification program to be a life coach. I’ve also started my own company, with a focus in grief resolution and life transitions. I’ve sold my big fancy house and now rent a cute little older home in a brand-new city. I joined Women For One as the Communications Manager and am lucky enough to be on a team that works to empower and encourage women all over the world!
So, for my third act, I have gifted myself with choice. I choose my day each and every morning. I choose where I invest my time, talents, and money. I choose to live and speak my truth.
And today, I’m a Truthteller!