"I'm restless, and I'm longing," I sighed.
"Well, you could always blow it all up," she suggested softly.
"I could? All of it?"
"All of it. But if you do that, that's it. There will be no going back," she said seriously, without any sense of graciousness or compassion.
"Okay, let's blow it up and burn it down."
This was the conversation I had with myself before everything changed. The conversation with my Self. I'd like to think her voice is that of my higher self, my inner wise woman, but she can be a real bitch. Though I don't believe that bitchiness and divinity are mutually exclusive, so there's that. She tends to tell it like it is, without apology, and without the gentle runaround. She won't walk on eggshells for me. I respect that.
Today is my 30th birthday. I'm not having any age-related crisis about it. In fact, I've been waiting for my 30s for what feels like forever. I think your 20s are the time for lesson after lesson, and making all sorts of mistakes to figure out who you really are and what you really want. But your 30s, ohhh the 30s, they feel like the golden age of the Self. And I've been setting myself up to prepare for this magical golden era by burning down the remainder of my 20s.
You see, there's this thing, this feeling, that I've been chasing for as long as I can remember. It's wanderlust, and the restless wind, and the spark of a fire that's both dying out and just starting to build.
It's complete freedom.
If you've felt it or long for it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But you don't just get to have it; you have to give up the things that keep you stuck and comfortable. And that's not easy. Trust me. I sit here, writing from the rubble of all the things I've given up, blown up, burned down, and sacrificed. I started the process of divorce earlier this year. I sold my awesome business. I moved out of the home I own. I was giving up a life that was good to make space for a life that was great.
And then I went headfirst into a spiral of depression and grief. I was stuck in this horrible transition phase where I was grieving the things I was giving up, while also looking forward to my new life with excitement, but not being able to have either right now. All I could do was sit in the rubble, waiting for the dust to settle so I could move on.
"This is agonizing," I told her.
"You asked for this," she said flatly.
"If you want big change, if you want freedom, you have to go through the process. Have a pity party for yourself if you want to, but then you have to adapt."
So I did. I had a major pity party for myself. (I mean, more than one, if I'm honest.) I let myself fully experience the grief and depression I felt about leaving my old life and now being stuck in the in-between. I cried, watched tons of Netflix, slept, bitched about my circumstances to my loved ones, cried more, and bitched more. It helped a lot. I would fully recommend the pity-party move. The way I see it, if you repress your self-pity, it will slowly ooze into everything you do because it's never truly seen or satisfied. But if you throw it a damn party, and temporarily embrace your victimhood (no matter how pitiful you may feel), you're validating that feeling which then allows it to ease naturally.
I'm still in that transition phase. I've adapted to the in-between a lot better, but it's not easy. It shouldn't be easy. I have no epic solution, but I know a lot of you are in the same boat as me. So I guess, on my birthday, I am reaching out to all of you to let you know that you're not alone. That this shit is hard. But that it's also brave, and amazing, and so full of gifts. Especially if you can approach it with some humor. (My inner wise woman bitch is great at that part.)
When we burn it all down consciously, we also sift through the remains consciously, discovering patterns and habits we no longer need, pieces of ourselves we'd forgotten about, and amazing little nuggets of truth that we've been hiding all along. It can be easy to get stuck in the depression and grief of it, but hopefully there's a sassy inner wise woman to remind you why you're doing what you're doing. And if she's not saying much to you right now, let me speak for her:
Be brave in the dawn of your own destiny.
Enjoy the juicy bits and seek them out.
You deserve the great life.
You can have it.
Have hope. You can get through the transition.
Be grateful for the gifts in the rubble.
Find the beauty in the dark.
It's not easy, but it's worth it.
Freedom is yours.