Twenty one years ago life shifted. May 21, 2000 is the delineation date - before that date, I was a carefree college student oscillating between economics and marketing degrees, with my eyes set on law school. Then after May 21, 2000 I was finding my way through a world post having parents; I was meeting with litigation attorneys; preparing to put my parent’s house on the market; packing up their personal items; and trying to find solace into why Jaime (my younger sister) and I had survived a horrendous tire blow out accident, and my parents had not.
My coping mechanisms became all about proving to everyone how OKAY I was. I said YES to everything and I became a social butterfly who flapped her wings at dizzying speeds. I crammed up my calendar, some weeks I had breakfast, lunch and dinner dates with different friends and social contacts. Every moment was filled with activities. Life was vibrant BUT it was also breath-taking-ly full and there were days I could barely hear my own voice, let alone my own soul.
I thought that if I was busy, that if attended to, and said yes to everyone, and everything, I could secure a safety net that would catch me, should something as tragic as my parent’s horrific car accident ever happen again.
I said yes out of fear, and I depleted my soul, and exhausted my body in the process. More tragedies did arrive - two separate, best friends, took their lives, I watched my sister see her world fall apart when her first husband had an affair, and I faced my own heart break and grave disappointments.
Staying busy and being a people-pleasing-yes-girl did not prevent the additional tragedies, but it did leave my emotional bandwidth on empty when those additional heart aches arrived. In the aftermath, of all the tragedies in my life, all I longed for was stillness, quiet, a walk outside to hear my own thoughts, time to journal, to pray and to create. And yet instead, of taking time to calmly and quietly heal, I rapidly filled the space with busyness and chatter - chatter that drowned out my own intuition and inner peace. Today I am choosing to turn down the volume, and I am pausing to recalibrate the cadence at which I move forward for the next 21 years.
I am sitting outside at a coffee shop as I write this blog, it’s a gorgeous breezy day, my headphones stream all my favorite songs, and I am finding serenity amongst the subdued memories.
For 21 years, I went at a pace that is no longer sustainable. I was out of integrity with my words, saying yes, when I meant no, and losing alignment with my soul’s vision several times along the way because of those behaviors. All because I feared disappointing people, and losing my future safety net.
Today as I reflect on those last 21 years, I am choosing to grant myself grace and compassion. To stand for kindness, and empathy, and all things grounded in love, which means having enough love and kindness, for my own soul, and to allow myself to recalibrate old ways of being, that no longer serve me.
I may not be as accessible as I used to; I may not be the girl who lives up to the definition “Call Jenn, she can do anything, she is a yes girl”; I may say “No” a lot more in service of saying YES to my soul; I may dip out early and decline social invitations, so I can refuel my spirit and hear my own thoughts over all the noisy chatter and commentary.
I may take even more time to ask myself “Where do you want to go?” (The last question my mama asked moments before our SUV spun out of control and she was killed) and to truly listen to what my soul wants, over what the world wants from me. I will choose integrity, truth, love and kindness every single time, should I be granted 21 more years on this earth.
I write this all to encourage you to take time to reflect on your own life, to be intentional with your time, to ground down in your values, and to have the courage to say to yes to your soul before saying yes to the world. Where do you want to go, and will you have the courage to follow your soul to your most genuine answer?
To remembering, reflecting, and standing in the truth and integrity of what our souls truly, genuinely wants.
Thank you so much for following my journey and taking the time to listen to my words. I hope you have a beautiful weekend with your loved ones and you can savor and appreciate all the moments you have with them.