It’s never too late to be who you might have been.George Elliot
I am not sure how long ago it was, perhaps six years, maybe five, I wrote on the chalkboard in my kitchen ‘Things Take Time.’ It felt like a nice sentiment and something I could learn from, feeling as if I was always in a rush. I had four boys, two with special needs, all school-aged, and my life felt fast and somewhat furious. I had my hands full, my plate full, all the things were “full.” Insert eye roll here. Remembering that things in life take time felt like something I knew and could learn more from and about.
To be honest, I don’t know that at the time I learned much from it. It stayed written on the board for years. Because, as I said, my plate was packed, and changing the kitchen chalkboard, while a nice thought, didn’t rank high on the To-Do List. I don’t remember if it was right before or during my separation with my now x-husband, but the board changed to ‘But God’. A little mantra, a good friend and I said back and forth. ‘Things Take Time’ stuck in my mind, though. It’s one I tell myself and think about often.
Recently I’ve been thinking about myself and how it is I move through and process the world. Before, I thought I moved fast, acted fast, and made up my mind quickly. Now I’m questioning if that was real or what I felt pressured to do and didn’t have the maturity to say, ‘Slow down, I need to put a brake on this.’ I process slowly. I move slowly. I walk slowly. I take time.
A few years back, I read Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect, and I still remember reading the paragraph in the chapter called Baptism.
And now I am inches from forty, a mother and writer, and the more I peel the onion, the layers of selves and identities, the more surprised I am to find that the self I want to take into my future is more like the nineteen-year-old than the person I’ve slipped into, the identities I tried on in more recent years.
If I think back to the girl I once was, I remember sitting outside for long periods, playing in the creek, building fairy houses, sitting by my Fairy Roses, and dreaming up different worlds, families, places, and circumstances. I didn’t rush through much of anything. My mom likes to talk about how I was to be born close to if not on, Thanksgiving Day. My actual birthday is exactly two weeks before Christmas. From the beginning, I was in no hurry.
When did this hurry and rush move in? One thing I know for sure, I had my mind set on marrying young and having children young. I wanted to be done having kids when I was 30. I wanted them to be in high school, me to be young and active, and when they moved out, I would have loads of time to travel, create, and live a full life surrounded by the family I created. Instead of waiting and taking my time to find a truly good match, I rushed. I know that to be true. I thought we would grow together, and things would get better. Every couple had problems; you just worked them out.
I married someone who rushed headlong into everything and gave little if any thought to any decision they made or action they took. I think part of my hurry and rush came from trying to outrun them to try and make better decisions for my life and family than I trusted them to make because, in the end, I never trusted them. I felt frazzled and worn down. It wasn’t a pace I could withstand or hold up for an extended period of time. In all honesty, I am surprised now I made it as long as I did.
I’m slowly falling into the girl I once was. I’m walking slower again. I’m taking my time to make decisions, big and small. I’m allowing myself space to sit, journal, soak up the sun, and make a path back to my creativity. I like myself again. I’m not trying to keep up with someone I think I should or am expected to be. I’m unraveling those unhealthy patterns.
Things take time. A lot of time. And I’m finding it’s never too late to walk back to who I know I am and can be. I’d like to offer you the same permission. The permission to hit the hard reset button and remember who it is you’d like to be and can be.