Recently a friend was dealing with a challenging breakup and career choice; we had many discussions about patterns and their influence on our lives. These conversations led me to evaluate my patterns over the last 50 years – and I recognized that I’v been on a rollercoaster.
0-10 my life basically had very little trauma (other than being given up at birth, living in an orphanage for six months before being my parents fostered and eventually adopted me.) Things were calm, I read, I learned, I played, I was a normal kid.
11-20 I was sexually taken advantage of by a Catholic priest who was my uncles best friend, my grandparents priest at the church a block from their house, and a respected community member. I was told point blank that we would never speak of this again – we didn’t – but we did – in non-verbal or passive aggressive ways, and I didn’t speak publicly about it until a few years ago. Everything changed. I was no longer that little girl, I wasn’t innocent in Dad’s eyes especially because I knew he thought I ‘did something’ to encourage this drunk 40+ year old man to do what he did. The thought of not being ‘good enough’ would become a multiple decade long heart drain. These ten years were not fun.
21-30 I would call freedom years. They weren’t perfect or non-traumatic, but dang I had a good time. I graduated from college, I got my dream job and traveled all over the country taking pictures of people. I was planted in Saratoga Springs five hours from everywhere I wanted to go and had the territory from Buffalo to Boston and St. Lawrence to NY City and enjoyed 90% of that entire experience. I was free.
31-40 Mom died. Life reverted to being back in Wisconsin, back in the town that I never called home since I left at 18. I call these years ‘the time of obligation.’ On the outside I was running a great business, meeting lots of people, engaged with the community, and I was freaking miserable. I hated being there, I had no actual friends to do things with when I finally had a random Friday or Saturday night off, and the idea of getting involved with a man who was settled on the idea of living there for the rest of our lives was just an unbearable thought. (I would eventually establish a few very close friends – but that didn’t happen until the last two years I was there.)
41-50 Gaining unstable freedom. I chose to move home to NY state for a fresh start after being financially devastated, homeless for a bit, and just exhausted in every way. I would soon find myself with a life threatening disease and waking up on the bathroom floor in my own fluids after being passed out for God knows how long. I would lose my insurance, my job, my car…but by the grace of God & earth angles I didn’t lose a place to live this time. I found doctors who understood this disease. I discovered my ability to comprehend medical writing, and found an interest in sharing this ever changing information.
So…my friend needed to stop repeating his patterns and so do I.
Thus…I turn 52 in a few weeks and this decade is dedicated to not repeating the past.
I am committed to living as healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally as I possibly can.
It is devoted to being a science experiment of n=1 and I’m not going to back down on the kinds of tests I want or be forced to follow the traditional protocols. I wasn’t put on this earth to be a sheep…I now am in full awareness of this and never intend on beckoning to the common call ever again.
The thing about rollercoasters…they go up and down with curves in them. if you never exit the ride, the person in charge of it can just keep you going around and around in that pattern forever. I’ve jumped off the rollercoaster, waved goodbye to all the people who wanted to control my ride, found a motorcycle and fully intend to ride on stable ground until I’m no longer able to. The sunset is behind me and the rollercoaster is a silhouette…I’m rolling toward the dawn and new horizons.
Come along for the discovery!