15 Kickass Lessons I Learned During the Second Phase of My Life
As we approach the end of another year, I've started reflecting on what I've learned in this second phase of my life. The single woman, single mom phase; as I attempt to rebuild me.
You see three years ago, I packed up my stuff, grabbed my daughter and moved out of New York City. Very dramatic...right?! I was offered the opportunity to transfer to a new position within my company. The job, however, was in Florida. I took the job because I refused to pass up the chance to make more money and get a new title. Money talks people. Money talks!
I knew one person in Florida...one person! I was scared out of my mind, but I moved anyway. My relationship was over and I needed a fresh start.
Now, I'm not suggesting you move away to get a new lease on life, but this move pushed me down a path of growth and self-discovery.
It was the first time in my life I ever lived alone. I slept with the lights on almost everynight. Once I stopped whining, I realized this was an opportunity for me to stop blaming others for the way my life turned out. I had to be the grown up I pretended to be and get it together. If I failed in Florida, it would be because of me; no one else.
Ah, sweet, sweet accountability kicked my butt...thankfully I survived the journey. Here are some things I learned during this butt kicking journey.
- I learned to drive. I never drove a day in my life until the age of 35, when I took my first driving lesson. I got my driver's license at 36 and drove for the first time in Florida; got into an accident three weeks later. I cried and cried and cried. Second guessed myself, then cried some more...the usual.
- I can take care of myself. As I've already mentioned, I was living alone for the first time in my life. I contemplated moving back to NYC daily. I was so scared and hard on myself then, now I can look back at the past three years as a period of survival. Yeah, I was sad and homesick but I survived it.
- I'm STRONGER than I think. It's one of my daily affirmations.
- Budgets are important! Especially because I wasn't prepared to pay the $500 deductible or almost $200 ticket I was hit with as a result of the accident. (Accountability!!!) I had no emergency funds. I still struggle with managing my money but am trying to get do better. It's a work in progress. Hell, I'm a work in progress.
- I've learned to speak up and defend myself when in a heated situation with someone in a leadership position. People can be such jerks but I don't have to take the abuse; especially not from a narcissistic boss.
- I learned how to be organized. I suck at it but I'm improving. At that time, I lived in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house. I had to create a routine to clean it, cook daily, make my daughters lunch and breakfast, do household chores because no one was going to do it for me. To-do lists saved my life! It allowed me to plan and track my tasks with ease. I hate routines and being organized, however, without these lists I would've been a hot mess.
- I learned how to successfully plan a party for a group of 100 people. I'm an introvert, I don't plan parties...I have no interest in parties. I had to plan these events as a part of my new job so I did what I do best - research (thank goodness for Google!). I called friends with event planning skills and successfully came in under budget every time!
- I'm not afraid to take risks. I'm a risk taker and that's a fabulous strength to have. Who else moves to another state without immediate family...a risk taker! That's who!
- Being single won't kill me or my ego. I'm not getting married anytime soon and even though I want the experience, I'm know that I'll be okay if marriage isn't in my future. Now, if I could only figure out how to rent-a-husband to do the crap I hate doing...my life would be golden!
- After years of smiling and nodding, I've finally found my voice and am able to speak my truth. I freaking speak my mind; deal with it!
- I won't be disrespected by anyone. While I may not always respond in an optimal way, I won't deal with anyone who threatens, berates or disrespects me. I'm smart, valuable and amazing and I deserve better than that. This may be redundant but it took most of life to learn this. I guess the real lesson here is I learned to value myself for my unique qualities; I can be weird and quirky and I like that.
- I create my own life story. I won't let anyone define me, but me!
- I can be friends with my ex and father on my child. It's not easy but it makes no sense to hold a grudge.
- I'm a good Mom. I'm not going to compare myself to other moms. I'm not a "Suzy Homemaker" type (is this a derogatory term?) but I've raised a smart, well adjusted kid. I'm doing a good job.
- I hate cooking! Ugh, I'd rather have a root cancel without drugs or give birth without an epidural injection. I learned to plan simple meals, which primarily come from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, that give my child nutrition she needs and doesn't make me want cry because I can't be bothered to prepare it. Confession: I make a decent homemade pizza but sometimes I order Pizza Hut twice a month. Don't judge me!
Do you reflect on you life this time of the year? What have you learned about yourself in the past year? I'd love to read your comments, so please leave your thoughts below.