When I started this blog several months ago I had no idea the range of emotions I would endure. Nor was I prepared for the continued ebbs and flows my life would encounter as every corner of my life would be turned upside down. It’s easy to sit down and tell readers to stay positive and profess “you can do it!” with some days being easier than others. But practicing what you preach, as you’re well aware, is a real battle some times.
Some days it’s not as easy to project a positive energy and cheer people on, especially when you see important life sustaining pillars within your own world starting to crumble. I say this to you because I don’t want you to feel that I’m here to preach about staying positive from a mountain top I’ve managed to climb. I’m not an expert. Like you, I battle daily, sometimes hourly, with the stresses that come from this incredible life transformation. The truth is I’m still climbing. And some days rocks knock me back down. Hell some days it’s more like an avalanche. My point is, as much as I’m here to share the victories and encourage you, I’m also continuing to go through my own journey. And as you well know, it’s no cake walk.
Those who know me, know that I’m not one to ask for help. My pride is pretty damn strong. I do things the way I want to and when life immerses me in negativity I tend to shutter up the windows and wait until I’ve managed to fix things before I let people in again. Pretty sad huh? For some reason I’m finding that in this instance perhaps I’m taking the wrong approach. Perhaps it’s time to start letting people come in and help with the renovation. I keep getting beat over the head by people telling me I shouldn’t walk this journey alone. But that’s easier said than done. When that’s all you’ve ever done, it’s difficult to clear off the passenger seat and let someone ride shotgun let alone drive when you can’t go another mile.
Which is why I’m starting to open myself up a bit and invite more people in. And I encourage you to do the same. I’ve learned something these past few months thanks to some old friends as well as some fairly new ones. Confining yourself to your home and watching a part of your world fall to ruin by yourself is not only counter productive, it’s incredibly unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
I recently had the distinct honor of meeting with several war veterans. Regardless of their age or time of active duty, they all spoke to one very important detail about transitioning to civilian life after they retired from the military, whether because of injury or they simply retired. They all told me the most important aspect of transitioning back into civilian life was to ensure that you create a support group around you. As service members, they were accustomed to being part of a team that helped each other through every battle. They grew to rely on the safety net provided by the team that surrounded them. But once their tour of duty was finished, sitting alone in their home made them feel incredibly isolated and vulnerable. They stressed the importance of not going it alone and that it’s impossible to win a war by yourself.
Now, I’m not about to compare living day to day on the front line with the end of a relationship. But as someone who has routinely tackled life on my own, I couldn’t help but be taken by their personal stories and the lessons they came away with. Transitioning from one life to another can be incredibly daunting and overwhelming. You’re filled with insecurities and fears of judgement that you somehow failed and that you’re unworthy of friendship or love. And don’t even get me started on the financial burdens that come with turning your life 180 degrees, regardless of the reason. Everyone has been telling me the same thing; you need to find the strength within to open up to someone if not multiple someones. And they WANT to be there for you. Just as I want to be there for you, to help you see that you’re not alone and you’re not the only one experiencing this. Make that effort to confide in someone or better yet find someone who may be dealing with the same life altering experience. My new military friends stressed the importance of finding people who can relate to what you’re going through. Not only can people be there for YOU, but in turn YOU can be there for them and walk away with a sense of self worth. And after all, isn’t that what we’re all looking for in the first place?
So I thank you for walking this journey with me and encourage you to not only continue but invite others to join us. In the words of Paul McCartney, “Someone’s knockin’ at the door, Somebody’s ringin’ a bell. Do me a favor, open the door and let’m in.”
Perhaps together we can help each other find our way to the top of that mountain.