August 26th marks the 11th anniversary of the passing of my lovely dad.
It seems like both a lifetime ago, and no time at all, since he left us.
I still miss him and think about him every day.
He was a gentle, kind soul and a great teacher, in his own special way. He understood, intuitively, that happiness doesn’t come from outside of us.
So he never chased it, or looked for it in the wrong places.
He was a man of simple needs who knew what was most important in life.
My dad’s death turned out to be a huge catalyst for change in my own life. Losing the first of my parents made me acutely aware, for the first time, of my own mortality.
It led me to take a very honest look at my life, and to question my choices.
Less than a year later, I had left my marriage of 22 years, and my corporate career of the same length.
I didn’t make those life-altering choices lightly.
The decision to leave my marriage impacted those I loved and cared about the most, my children.
The decision to leave the security of my corporate salary to pursue a brand new career path in my mid-40s, felt like a big risk.
And yet, once made, I knew with absolute certainty, those decisions were the right ones for me.
Death has a way of putting life into perspective.
It’s so final.
There are no more second chances.
No more goodbyes.
As sad and painful as my dad’s death was, it ignited my own re-birth.
It forced me to reflect, with laser-like focus, on what was truly important to me.
And to realise we spend so much of our lives focused on stuff that doesn’t actually matter.
Such as spending way too much of our precious time and energy worrying about what other people think of us, and the choices we make.
And shaping our lives so they look shiny and impressive on the outside.
As if that’s the most important thing.
Even when we feel like we’re dying inside.
What Really Matters
My dad’s death taught me that all that really matters, in the end, is our relationships.
The people we love.
The people who love us.
And our most important relationship of all – the one we have with ourselves.
Nurturing those relationships.
That’s our work to do.
Loving ourselves fully – first.
Showing up as the best version of ourselves in our own lives – for ourselves.
And bringing that self to the people we love and care about the most.
That is all.
The rest is simply noise and distraction.
Reflections of the Past
So much has changed in my life in the past 11 years.
I barely recognise the woman I was back then.
The me, who, in the midst of mourning my dad, was so full of confusion, fear, guilt, unhappiness and longing.
Yearning for a life I couldn’t yet imagine.
I wanted more.
But I had no idea what more even looked like, let alone how to create it.
My decision to up-end my life as I knew it, was a huge leap of faith.
Yet somehow, somewhere, beneath the bottomless pit of fear and uncertainty, was an inner knowing.
A still, sure voice that whispered to me, when my mind was quiet enough to hear it.
It was a voice that told me I deserved to live a happy, fulfilling life.
One that gave me permission, for the first time, to prioritise my own happiness and emotional wellbeing.
It was the voice that said I finally valued myself enough to know I deserved, and was fully capable of creating, more.
It told me I could survive outside of my marriage and corporate career.
It urged me to trust I could figure out what my life was supposed to become, one small step at a time.
I’m so glad I listened to that voice.
11 Years On..
Today, my life is entirely different to the one I was living back then.
I barely recognise that woman, though I have great compassion for her.
Today, I’m living true to myself.
It’s the key, I’ve learned, to real happiness.
I’m no longer pretend happy.
This time, it’s for real.
Today, I’m in a happy, healthy relationship.
A relationship that’s built on mutual love and respect.
Today, my work is helping brilliant women who may feel as I once did, to strengthen their relationship with themselves first.
Why? So they can create their ‘right’ lives, on purpose.
And make choices that allow them to live true to themselves, without apology.
And become who they were always supposed to be.
It’s an honour and a privilege to support them.
Today, I’m so thankful to my younger self for the brave choices she made.
What will your Younger Self Thank you for?
Three, five or 10 years from now – what choices would you like your younger (today) self to thank you for?
What’s the first step?
Are you ready to take it?