Let me start by saying that I’m having an excellent month. Those who have read each week and followed my journey know it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been on a real roller coaster.
When I began my divorce and ripped my comfortable safety net out by the roots, I knew that I was taking a risk. I said all the same things that everyone else says in those situations.
I’m doing this for me.
I’m betting on myself.
I’ll prove what I am capable of.
That all sounds great on paper, but real worries and inner voices can drag you down just as quickly as the fake concerns and genuine voices from the people around you. Sometimes those inside and outside voices sound the same, but one thing is always true. The ones in your head are always far worse than those in real life.
That’s saying a lot too because those real-life voices could be venomous. I’m not just talking about splintered family and friends following the split, but just people in general who have littered the walkways of my life. You even add a few more as you go. Getting out into the world means finding new people to introduce to your circle. The problem with that? Some of those people end up being crazy too.
Although, we tell ourselves that’s part of the fun. No matter what role you want these people to have in your life, their potential for looney tunes is high on the possibility meter. Those who try to feed you pizza and ask leading questions one day will be complaining to others that you ate all their food and said terrible things the next. People will do some awful stuff because many of those people are filled with awful stuff. They need to get it out. So it goes.
Still, even in the face of new adversaries, your self-betting continues. It did with me. Over the course of the last two years, I took steps every few months that saw my life improve by leaps and bounds each time. I was focused on being happy and I wanted nothing more. I kept trying to remember that I was bettering myself for myself.
Let’s be honest, though. It’s not just for me, right? We’re all on the Internet here. We can be candid. Think of all those memes that people share. Think of karma and the way the world spins. We don’t just succeed to be successful. We succeed to wipe those toxic smirks off all those toxic faces, right?
We want to rub it in the face of every person who said we’d never be able to make the right amount of money or find our soulmate or live the life we deserve. One day, when your ship finally comes in, you can get on board, wave goodbye, and sail away on the tears of your haters. Bon Voyage, beaches.
In many ways, my ship has finally come in. I’m happy with my life and the things I have put in place. I feel steady, secure, and stable in ways that I never dreamed possible. This is the best version of me that I’ve ever been.
When I realized all of this though, a funny thing happened. It’s something I didn’t expect.
I didn’t think about any of the doubters or nay-sayers. I didn’t make any phone calls to recent ghosts or text messages to the physical forms of my toxic inner voices. There were no “ha-ha-ha” floral arrangements or told-ya-so singing telegrams. None. Those people stayed where they’ve been since I put them away – away.
Do you know who I thought about? I thought about my children and how worried I had been that my decisions in life would lead them to a home of instability. They have been by my side for half of every week during this sometimes chaotic trip and offered me comfort during some of the darkest turns. Everything I’ve done and wanted to be has always been for them.
I thought about my girlfriend Lauren and her son, my son’s best friend, Christian. Lauren offered me support that I never thought was possible and cared for me during times that I didn’t even care about myself. She saw my potential with the same excitement that I vaguely recall having myself and reminded me of who I once saw in the mirror. She pushed me to be better and I wanted nothing more than to be successful for them both. I wanted to be my best self because that’s what they deserve. They deserve even more.
There were my friends who wrote to check in on me over the past few years. Readers, many of whom are reading these words right now, who dropped me messages on social media or through this blog, all stuck in my head. They witnessed my writings, many during my lowest points, and I just wanted to write them a happily ever after.
While I’m still writing that happily ever after, I can say that all of those people are the ones who brought me to this high point today. The hope to make those positive forces proud greatly outweighed the hope that I’d make the negative ones cry.
I should have seen that coming. After all, those who caused me pain couldn’t stop me from being the best I could be. It also stands to reason that those who caused me pain couldn’t push me to be the best I could be either. Wiping their smirks off wasn’t a real reason to reach my goals. Creating a life for those I love was. The ones who cared about me are the ones I did it for. They’re the ones I still do it for each day.
It’s not your job to prove people wrong or make your toxic past feel the sting of your achievements. Toxic is as toxic does and no amount of life lessons will cure that. It’s what makes them toxic.
Great people make other people greater. You won’t find inspiration from the same pits of darkness you crawled out from. Tomorrow’s bright and tomorrow’s real. Do it for the ones who matter. We’re cheering for you.