In My Previous Life
This essay is a piece I wrote for school. I am sharing it to my blog because I know many of us struggle as we watch our identity shift and change. There were many times during my coaching career that I listened to clients state, "In high school I..." These clients were in their 40's. They hadn't been in high school for 20+ years. How often do we hold onto an old identity? Why do we think we failed simply because our identity or Self changed? Learning to accept and grow into our new Self can be challenging, but it can be thrilling too! Hmmm.. similar to watching our little girl or boy grow into a teenager, both challenging and thrilling.
I used to read books that would help me become a better person. Self-help, non-fiction novels about bettering your diet, your mental health, etc. Books about athletes completing great feats and overcoming all the odds. Now I find myself reading fiction novels and essays that are raw and honest about love, sex, and drugs. They are books about real life, real feelings. I read for fun, not to try and seek advice or motivation.
I used to spend a couple of hours per week at a coffee shop, I enjoyed the solitude, the space away from my home and my family. I savored the coffee, the cookie, and I took in the atmosphere. Now I have an espresso machine and deem myself the best barista in town, always making myself the perfect latte on demand. I have a new home, a new atmosphere.
I used to make a point of waking up more than an hour before my husband to drink my coffee, read, write, and sit in the dark, still living room. Now I wake up and intentionally spend that hour drinking coffee and conversing with my new partner. We touch, we kiss, we take in the morning together. We discuss what lies ahead or reflect on the days and years before.
I used to set goals for myself that I would diligently follow. I would push myself into the ground making sure I met the goal even at the expense of my family and my health. Now I find myself losing interest in goals or struggling to understand why I ever would have ever tied myself down with such tight ropes before.
I used to eat a strict diet. Each calorie calculated to maintain the physique I had worked hard to shape. I avoided going out to eat, so I packed food when we traveled. I had a mantra of, everything doesn’t have to revolve around food. We can make memories that don’t involve food! Now I travel more freely, I enjoy dinner dates and days where I don’t have to plan and prepare every meal. I accept that many memories and traditions will involve food.
I used to constantly try to do more, be more, push further. Be it in my business, my education, or my athleticism. Now I find myself wanting to settle in. Make peace with contentment. Find joy in the ordinary. I am accepting this way of living doesn’t mean laziness or like I am giving up.
I used to be married. Now I am divorced. I am living a different life. I am learning to accept that someday I will stop comparing my old life to my new life. Someday I will stop saying, In my previous life, and start each statement with a confident, I. This is me.