It's been three years since we moved from Lexington to Rochester. Three years! I look back on these past few years and cannot believe how quickly they've gone by or how much has changed for me, my family and the way I look at life. S is going to Kindergarten on Wednesday and it's really got me reflecting on change because that's a pretty big change in all of our lives (S: "I'm going to be in a grade!!!"...her enthusiasm always makes me smile). This time of year always seems like good reflection time for me...end of a season, beginning of something new etc, so change is an appropriate topic right now.
Over the last few days, this particular post has been many things regarding change. Along the way, it was a list of things that have changed in my life, a tribute to the Unitarian Church and a thorough analysis of all of the ways that I've made things different for myself over the past year or so. But, as I went through all of these things, the one predominant thing that stood out for me was the impact that particular people have had on me and how their actions (whether deliberate or not) inspired me to be a better person.
Not long ago, I was focusing way too much time and effort on things outside my house, my mind and my relationships. I placed way more emphasis on connecting with people in our new town, thinking it was way more important to be networked, busy and involved to feel fulfilled. I signed up for everything..committees, boards, groups and my social calendar was pretty full. So full in fact, that my home life was as empty as the calendar was full. I felt disconnected from J, didn't feel connected to my girls and while I had friends and acquaintances, I wasn't feeling a deeper connection with most of them (even though they are, and continue to be wonderful people and important to me).
Then along came (and some of you remained) some people that became part of my day to day and by being themselves, "showed me the" way to a better me. I've written in red the "area" of my life this person helped me change. Each topic is almost a blog post in itself. So, for the "shout-out" part....I've opted to use initials instead of names in this blog, but hopefully you know who you are.....
R.L.-Your steady friendship and sisterhood for 10 years has been a safe place for me to reflect my crazy ideas and theories and by babbling on about some topic or another, I've worked my way through so many issues and in doing so, changed my mindset, my attitude and my behaviors. (Life. Big Picture. Progress.)
M.P.Z.-Your passion and enthusiasm for all of your endeavours made me take a second look at my life and realize that I was missing that passion (remember our date at Starbucks where I envied all that you had going on?). (Hobbies, curiosity for life)
C.V.-Your positive outlook on life and way you make people feel good about themselves has changed how I approach friends and strangers alike. You truly do get what you give. (Friendship. Happier self.)
H.L.-Your wit and strength (both mental and those darn kb's) continue to make you one of the most amazing people in my life. When I am struggling with something, I often think "What would H do" (WWHD?? :-)) because I like how you think before you speak and truly seem to weigh the impact of your words. (Choosing words more carefully. Clarity of thought)
K.W.- Your insight into focusing efforts back where they need to be has helped me immensely. By pulling on the reigns of outside obligations and seeing that I need to tend to the home fires first has greatly improved my life. (Family)
A.C.-Your quiet grace and demeanor with your children inspire me to be a better mom...one that is calm and able to get through the day feeling like I've accomplished good things for my children. Plus, you inspire me to "put good things out into the universe" and I think it's working. (Parenting. Self-esteem.)
J.R-Everyday, you accept me for who I am and support me to be a better wife and mother. Your noticing what I do for our family and being my partner has made all of the difference in who I am today versus who I was when we met. (Relationship. Family. Partners.)
M&S-You challenge me, forgive me, love me and make me work for a better future for you. Your very being inspires me to act on your behalf and I make changes, both physical and mental, so I can be a better mother for you both. (Parent/child relationships. Love. Struggle. Future.)
And, I consider myself so very fortunate that those people listed are just the tip of the iceberg of a whole group of people that have challenged me, taught me and opened my eyes to different ways of seeing things while being something so simple yet so important...a friend. I don't want to leave anyone out of this list, but to list everyone would take more room than blogger.com allows. :-)
I think back to not even 5 years ago and it almost startles me to think of the kind of person I was then. Still fairly insecure with little confidence in myself or my opinions. Pretty negative and unsure of my role in life. Wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister? None of those "titles" felt right even though I was all of those things. But, about a year ago...something in me started to wake up. Little by little, I was able to "dissect" aspects of my life and see where the negative thinking had gotten me (usually the answer was "nowhere") and I started taking steps to "fix" myself. I started really thinking about being a parent and what kind of family life I wanted my children to have. I started thinking about my role as a wife and what being in a relationship really means (accepting "quirks", taking the high road, turning the other cheek to maintain the peace) and as time has gone by, I've become a lot more comfortable in both of these roles and can finally say that my attention is focused right where it should be. I've changed my body, I've changed my mind and I've changed my attitude. Still more to do, but feeling like I'm on the right track.