40

We want so much...

When you're a kid, time seems to move at a snail's pace. Always wishing for milestones to get here faster than the laws of physics allow. We long for summer vacations, budding independence, and eventual freedom. The years leading up to the inevitable launch feel excruciating at best. We want so much, and we want it now. Something happens along the way. As we collect years and experiences, time begins to pass through our fingers so quickly and easily, that it is perceived as more precious. Instead of rushing forward, we are made look back on the past with longing or regret. As a therapist, I can state with complete confidence, that this is a prominent and debilitating problem for many.  For me, the nature of time continues to unfold in new and cherished ways. Of course I look back. So much of my writing incorporates a walk through raw pages of the past. My motivations to reflect are not fueled by sadness, but pride in my own resilience. I look back to remind myself of my capacity to grow over time. I have learned, made better choices, and seek to share my insights to lessen heartache in others' lives. I hope that it is welcomed in it's value, and believe wholeheartedly that it is.

How is the whole kid thing working out for you?

Periodically, as I'm watching my daughter prance, gallop, and summersault throughout the world (she is often a blur of movement), I'll check in with her and say, "How is this whole kid thing working out for you?" Her face lights up, as she quickly composes an exclamation of joy to illustrate her satisfaction with life. She'll say "It's amazing!" or "I love being a kid!" Of course this wasn't my experience as a child. I'm pretty sure I was born an adult, suffering major depression straight out of the womb. To see my daughter's light-hearted and playful nature, my heart is filled to overflowing. Her life is joyful, and I could not be more delighted.

I woke up as a 40 year old...

This morning, I woke up as a 40 year old. This gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own milestone. "So Audrey, how's this life thing going so far?" That's some question. I'm not going to lie, it's had some rough points. Those hiccups in fluidity, have the tendency to reveal true character- good or bad. Excluding one year, in which I played with the idea of being a cold-hearted and egotistical ass (22) knee deep in severe depression and Kamikaze shots, I've chosen the high road. I've picked kindness, and sought truth. I thought that today, I would look back on my last decades, as homage to how far I've come.

10 Years Old...

10 years old: I was a chubby fifth grader with no friends to speak of. I dreaded each bus ride to school, anticipating my peer's new attempts to crush my spirit. Stomach aches haunted every morning, and no one at home or school understood any aspect of my character. To this girl, I would say: You are valuable. You will find your voice, and you will roar. This solitary chapter will create a powerful listener. Your strength will be in your thought-out words of encouragement. The future will shower you with true friendships. Not based on physical attributes, but the strength of your character, and genuine spirit. You are carried. You are loved.

20 years old...

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20 years old: I was waiting tables at Old Chicago downtown, living in an apartment that could easily make a guest appearance on the show Intervention, or Cops. I was modeling, which resulted in a complex relationship with food (chocolate muffin tops and soda water). Most of my time was spent at coffee shops swimming in discontent. Love interests were discouraging, but reflective of my self-worth. To this young woman, I would say: You are valuable. You have survived times that break many. You are building the foundation to something great. The person you are inside is wonderful, and perfect as she is. You don't feel like you fit, but you do. The Audrey you are, doesn't have to accommodate other's versions of "normal" or "acceptable." You are spiritually starved, but ripe for growth. You are not a disappointment. This is your story, written entirely by you, for you. These experiences will give you understanding and compassion when you work with the impoverished, the hurting, and the lost. These chapters are vital to your tomorrow. You are carried. You are loved.

30 years old...

30 years old: I was graduating with a bachelor of science in psychology. My daughter was just a toddler. This was the year I would start working at BSU Housing, living on campus as a single mother and future grad student in the MSW program. Love was redefined for me with Charlotte. Becoming a mother was the single most powerful experience of my life. So much so, that it defies words. My friendships were becoming more polished, and my voice was emerging. I had survived three near-death experiences in recent years, and was still raw with the shock and fear, that had been left in it's wake. I had made efforts at creating a life that fit society's expectations, but my heart wouldn't allow a permanent state of discontent. To this young mother, I would say: You are valuable. You are on your way. Magic is happening, as you have found your true calling. Parenting this little girl is going to heal the wounded parts of your past. Her unconditional love will smooth out the rough edges that leave you defensive and cautious. Breathe. You've got this. Cherish her snuggles, and how much she needs you. I know you're tired. You give so much of yourself. These chapters are short, though taxing. You are showing her with every step, the woman she can become. Everyday, wake with the understanding that your capacity to accomplish and shine is infinite. You are carried. You are loved.

40 years old...

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40 years old: Career. Becoming a counselor has been such an accomplishment, and point of pride for me. This was a lengthy and exhausting road to reach this state of confidence and skill in my field. I'm now blessed to teach future social workers, create curriculum, counsel, and participate in program development. I managed to finally face my depression about six years ago, and do the hard work that was required to treat it successfully. My professional training and personal experience, lend to an insightful and successful practice with my patients. I'm actually good at this. I've healed my interpersonal relationships, and focused on sustaining connection with people that fill my soul with light. The work I pour into my blog and book, feed my creative consciousness with a life force that sustains me. My daughter teaches me something new everyday about compassion, love, kindness, and creativity. I cherish her. She is the true love of my life. She told me last week that she admires me. I was brought to tears. Her pure heart humbles me. I am blessed to be her mother. To this woman, I would say: "You are valuable. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your evolution will continue until your last breath, as you will always seek new truths. You deserve all good things. Open your life paradigm to new possibility, as you are prone to falling into comfortable patterns. There is more color to create in your world, and is easily manifested with sheer belief. There are no limits. They are simply fictional constructs of the mind, tricking us into minimizing our potential. It's time to fly, dear one. There are new heights to discover. You are carried. You are loved.

This is going to be good....

AM