I'm always where I need to be

If I knew what I knew now, when this photo was taken exactly three years ago, on the way to a wedding with a 17 week baby Ollie in my tummy, what would I have done?

Would I have changed anything? 


Tried to alter the course of my future somehow? 

If I knew exactly 365 days later, this date would prove to be a pivotal turning point in my life, would I have edged closer to it with fear? 

Dreaded every day I woke because I knew it was drawing near?

As my friend put to me last night: did the passengers on the Titanic think it was a bad idea to board it at the time? No! They thought it was the best decision and they were so excited!

I reflected on his analogy, and in no way likening my fate to their impending doom, rather adopting the idea you never know what’s around the corner, I can wholeheartedly say I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Everything in my life was exactly how it was supposed to be at that time and you won’t find me regretting how I embraced every day with a heart full of love and anticipation. Therefore, how can I be angry at this past version of me? All I can do is look at her with empathy and love. She was doing her absolute best. She had no idea what was to happen a year later, she was just so excited her ‘dream life’ was playing out in front of her eyes. 

And what did that girl believe?

I can tell you she trusted the universe had her back. 

She looked at life through the lens of love. 

She trusted everything was going to be okay, because she had no reason to believe it wouldn’t be.

And despite everything, my guiding principles are still the same, nothing has changed. I still believe it has my back, it will all be okay, and I choose to see the world through love. 

Life can rock you to your core. But you make the choice if it breaks you.

And that’s what I remind myself every single day as I learn to forgive myself. I was doing the best at the time with the information I had at hand. At the heart of my sadness, frustration and occasional resentment (yep, the terrific trio still know my address, they know where to find me, they love to drop by from time to time) is deep anger at myself for allowing everything that happened. But, there is only one person in the world who suffers as a result of this inability to let that anger go: me.

And if we peel back the layer of anger - what do we find? Grief. So, be gentle. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed. If people tell you that you should be over something by a certain imaginary date they’ve constructed as a result of western conditioning, tell them to go fuck themselves and block them on Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Twitter, and MSN. Because grief isn’t linear. It ebbs and flows and comes and goes and just when you think you’ve banished it for good - WHACK - there it is, and hey, remember that life you thought you were going to have? The person you thought loved you? The friends who said they’d stick by you? Yeah, they’re all gone. How are you doing with that? Over it yet? No? Oh… why?

Grief has an elaborate wardrobe and loves to dress up as depression, anger, resentment, desperation and anxiety - but here’s the thing, when you strip it down, you’ll discover you’re grieving a part of you, your future, your life that has died - it no longer exists - and won’t - ever again. And that hurts. Even if you don’t want it anymore anyway. Even if you acknowledge everything was SO for the best. Even if you wouldn’t change a thing when you look back at a photo of yourself from three years ago. It still hurts. And that is OKAY. Your feelings are valid! You are worthy! Feel it! Acknowledge it hurts! Cry! Yell in a pillow! Vent to a friend! Write in your journal! Let that energy move through you, because when we acknowledge it, we let it pass through us, and that’s the healthiest way to process heavy feelings and let them go.

You can beat yourself up forever with what ifs and waste your time wishing there was a time machine to teleport you back to the past.

Or you can appreciate everything happened as it was supposed to. You have learnt valuable lessons. You are not the same person anymore, you are wiser, stronger, and even through the hard days, you are happier, because you are more yourself than you’ve ever been, and that can only come from the universe stripping away everything you thought you needed.

This date will forever be a benchmark for how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learnt, and what has changed. It’s a chance for me to pause to reflect and re-evaluate. If so much can change in three short years since this photo was taken, and two since I suddenly became a single mum, can you imagine all of the amazing things in store for the next three? You have the choice to look forward with a sense of optimism or backwards heavy with regret.

Your future self is watching you right now through your memories.

And so, to my dear 25 year old self here with that sparkle in her eye, I’m a few years ahead of you... I’ve felt things I never knew we would experience, watched everything fall to pieces, and spent painstaking days piecing it all back together, I’ve survived our worst days. and lived some incredibly fulfilling moments, all the while watching Oliver grow up to the most incredible little boy, and I’m here to tell you that a year from now, it may not feel like it as everything crumbles around you, but everything will be okay. Even better than okay. And the best bit? It’s only going to get so much better. That sparkle will return. I promise. Because the 31 year old version is watching both of us. And she reckons life is beyond what we could ever have imagined.

All you need you to do is keep approaching every day with love. Just as you are right now, so excited as your fiancé snaps a photo of you holding your pregnant tummy. And just as you will when your world falls apart a year later. Just keep walking in the direction of love. Because we’ve got this. We always did. And we always will.

Elizabeth AnileComment