I once read an article online that went something like this, “You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t find yourself in. You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t love yourself in. You’re allowed to leave a city that has dimmed your light instead of making you shine brighter, you’re allowed to pack all your bags and start over somewhere else and you’re allowed to redefine the meaning of your life.” I have tried to search for this article again, but to no avail.
I remember the words so clearly because it resonated with me and the previous 7 years of my life. It somewhat made me feel at peace knowing that it was in the public space that leaving a story you are not happy in is ok. Society sets a certain stereotype of how life should be, how women and men are supposed to act and be, that when things are not ok we feel this unsurmounted pressure to conform to these ideologies.
I married at the age of 26. Young to some, normal to others, but that seemed about right. Married by 26, first baby by 28, second before 30, living in the suburbs, white picket fence and all. Thats how it’s supposed to be right? What they fail to tell you is that life happens, situations change, circumstances change and most of all, people change. People grow up.
I always knew the life I was in was not for me. There was something else, something bigger, something different and something less stifling. But at the age of 25/26 what do I know? Marrying the man I was dating since 21, properties purchased, young career thriving, this is it not so? Next up the dog and kids and the happily every after. No, something wasn’t right. I didn’t know what it was, but something just wasn’t ok. But what do you do? How do you leave a life, leave a marriage, leave a situation when you have no solid concrete reason for leaving? How do you disappoint people that you love or have friendships and relationships with? You don’t. You stay in your story, keeping your thoughts to yourself until you cannot any longer and you implode and all hell breaks lose, just the way you imagined.
Family leave, friends leave, people judge, people spread rumours, people take sides – no one warns you about that, after all, you think you have friends right? Maybe it was because we were the first in the circle to be the 1 in 3 statistic. 1 out of every 3 couples get divorced so they say. Growing up you would pity the poor girl sitting next to you in Math because her parents were divorced. Now you envy the women sitting next to you in University because her folks are still together.
Years of reflections, discoveries, new journeys, new friends, old friends reunited, experiences, career choices, it all makes sense now. You are the most important person in your life and you can leave any story you don’t find yourself in. The world has changed, society has changed. Women are excelling in their careers and are now the bread winners, women can look after themselves. There is such a big world out there to discover, things to learn and mistakes to make. I was determined, I was passionate, I was career driven, I wanted to build a legacy, make money, build a comfortable life for myself and find someone who shared this journey on the same emotional, physical and mental level as me. I needed to spread my wings, to grow up and I most of all, I needed to grow into myself and discover who I really was and what I really wanted.
My psychologist once said to me that women only know what they want by the age of 28. By that age you have loved and lost, you have been hired or fired, changed jobs and discovered the direction you want to go in – or not, and thats ok too. You have traveled, or not, met different characters, personalities and identified how people and this world really works. And most of all, you make mistakes. How can you possibly make a serious life decision if you don’t know who you are or where you are going? Life is one big experience. It’s an experiment and there is no right or wrong way, just your way.
I know that now. I have a successful and thriving business, I have the most amazing friends (old and new), I have the most amazing family who always supported me and always will, I have achieved goals I never thought possible: Full Ironman, most recently Comrades marathon, a few Double Centuries, travelled overseas and found the difference between loving someone and being in love. I have the most amazing partner, the most amazing relationship, and at the end of this month we will start a new chapter as we move into our new home.
The journey to get here wasn’t easy, don’t let Facebook or anything fool you that people don’t have sh*t going on behind the scenes. Believe me, we all do! But I can now honestly say that I am as happy as a pig in sh*t and I know I made the right decision.
Decisions are never easy, they all come with consequences, some more dramatic than others, but this I know, was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.
How to sum up the past 6-7 years? A snap shot of Instagram!
Cover image: Videoblocks.com