My TV is rarely on, but when it is, I’m either watching Triple D or Criminal Minds. I’ve seen every episode of Criminal Minds at least 5 or 6 times; possibly more, I don’t keep track. The shows about a group of FBI agents that make up the BAU (Behaviour Analysis Unit). The BAU is task with hunting down serial killers using, you guessed it, behaviour analysis. A little dark, yes, but that’s me: a little dark on the inside.
In every episode a thoughtful quote is narrated by one of the shows characters. It’s either thrown right after the beginning scene, or just after a dramatic ending along with a deep lyrically moving song. The quote from last nights show inspired this writing today.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Now those are words to live by, and words I’ve had to re-learn a time or two. I don’t find letting go easy, actually I find it excruciatingly difficult. The hardest decision so far in my life was leaving my marriage. I felt like a failure, and it took me many years to let go of the guilt that decision had on me.
You see, I thought marriage was the answer to life. Growing up, my only role model was my single mom who received no child support and who’s parents died when I was only three. She worked several minimum wage jobs just to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. Her life goal? Find a man to marry who would take care of us. I can’t say I blame her. She had no one to turn too, and I can’t imagine how hard it was for her. Needless to say, that became my focus on life. My plan was to get married, get a job, and buy a house. And guess what? I did.
I married at 23, studied accounting and found an average job, and then my husband and I bought a house. It was perfect, everything I had dreamt of. Then, one day, I woke up and thought “Now what?” I had it all, everything on my life list was ticked off, so why was I feeling empty. Why was I so sad all of the time? In the end, I blamed my marriage. How was I to know it was so much more than that. If I knew then what I know now would I have stayed? No, I don’t think so. But, I would have known it wasn’t a man that was making me unhappy; it was that I hadn’t learned what I wanted in life.
It took another failed relationship for me to finally clue into the truth. I, DIDN”T KNOW WHO I WAS. I didn’t know what inspired me or what made me tick. My life experience had revolved around pure survival. All I knew of the world was work and marriage. I thought I needed a steady job and a man. “Need” is now no longer in my vocabulary, and although I may not have all the answers to life, I do know one thing: You need to experience as much as you can in life to figure out what your life is meant to be. There is no end game, it’s all about trying new things and seeing where they take you. A man (or partner) is meant to be a companion; not a goal.
I don’t have everything I think I want in life right now, but that’s a good thing. All I can do is live, learn, and experience.
“We think that accomplishing things will complete us, when it is experiencing life that will.” – Mark Nepo