By Blamoh Twegbe,
“I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind. I am LIGHT.”
—India Arie, “I Am Light”
When I was a young girl, I had a complete vision of how my life would look when I turned 35. I imagined myself married to a successful and dashing man, living in a beautiful home with a dazzling swimming pool filled with the laughter and frenzy of 3 children–two girls and a boy. I pictured myself staying at home to raise my children, making my home a nurturing oasis, full of warm memories and so much love. Busy with carpools, bake sales, soccer games, ballet recitals and piano lessons, the “picture” I had in my head seemed perfect & easily attainable. Yet, here I am at 35 years old without my 35-year old dream. And while some may view this as a major disappointment or failure, I simply see the lack of attaining my dream as MOTIVATION. [Tweet “You have to let go of old dreams and expectations to make room for bigger dreams to emerge.”] Sometimes we hold on to the “idea” of things, and do not understand the reality of that vision.
At this point in my life, I know my journey has given me more insight and opportunity than my “perfect family” vision could EVER have given me. I know I’m not a failure because I haven’t reached my “goal.” I have achieved so many OTHER accomplishments: I graduated from UCLA, obtained my degree, struggled through 4 years of pharmacy school and earned my Pharm.D., passed my CA Pharmacy Board exams the first try, was promoted to Pharmacy Manager within a year of working, and became a homeowner at the age of 30.
Although I look forward to the day I meet my romantic match, I have learned so much about myself as a successful single and fulfilled woman. Being a single woman has allowed me to realize who I am by myself, without the influence of a partner. Single life has given me freedom—freedom to live the life I want to live and the opportunity to travel without consulting another person. I’m not desperate or depressed that I have not found him yet. I know I am right where I need to be at this point in my life and look forward to the day when Mr. Right arrives. On the series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw said so wisely, “Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.”
But I’m only human. Sometimes I have a bad day and find myself in “Debbie Downer” mode. During these times I strive to replace my negative thoughts with positive, affirming ones.
Here are 5 tools I use in order to focus on my desires and ward off negativity:
- Stay in your lane. God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. When we count other people’s blessings, we not only disappoint Him, but we also diminish our own journey. Learn to embrace the unknown and the excitement of the unfolding path ahead of you, because when you resent the blessings of another, it doesn’t push others off their path–it simply pushes you farther from your own. Release the expectations you have about what you SHOULD have now or where you SHOULD be now in your life. [Tweet “You are EXACTLY where you should be right now.”] You are learning and growing, preparing for the next part of your life journey. Stay positive and enjoy the moment you are living in NOW. Create the vision you have for your life, expect great things, have faith, and great things will happen for you at the RIGHT TIME.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Remember when you were a youngin’ and your mom or dad hugged & cheered you on when you did the smallest thing, like tie your shoe properly, or use the potty for the first time, or when you got your first gold star at school? Well, why does that suddenly have to change when you’re an adult? I feel like we don’t celebrate ourselves enough in adulthood. [Tweet “Everyday is a gift and every success should be celebrated!”] Rather than bathe in destructive and envious feelings, we should celebrate our progress, no matter how small. You finished all the items on your TO-DO list for the week? CELEBRATE!! You achieved your goal of 4 workouts for the week? I’d say that calls for a spa day! Self love is all about appreciating and honoring oneself, unconditionally. Not having accomplished everything you desire is an opportunity to get clearer on what you want and set goals to achieve it. Life would be dull if you didn’t have anything to work for! Always honor and cherish the blessing that you are to the world. Don’t let ANYONE steal your shine, especially yourself!
- Create a GRATITUDE journal. The best way to get out of your “Woe is me” mentality is to write a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for. It could be ANYTHING! Focusing on all the blessings you have NOW makes it difficult for you to feel badly about your life. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Giving thanks forces us to pay attention to the good things in life, rather than the negative forces which tend to overwhelm us day-to-day. So whether you believe in God or a higher power, be thankful on this day for your trusted friendships and loving family. Rather than focus on what is MISSING in your life, focus on all the wonderful things that are present. Focus on your blessings, focus on your fitness, focus on those things you CAN control, like your attitude and outlook on the world. Focus on keeping the faith.
- Give back. One of the best things you can do to take the focus AWAY from the whirlwind of doubts and questions that plague you is to serve others. Whether you choose to volunteer at a shelter, become a mentor, give money to your favorite charity, donate clothing to an organization, or simply reach out to a friend or colleague, use your time productively to create sunlight in another’s life. The best way to get out of your own funk is to reach out and help someone else who may be having hard times. Do you know someone who may be going through a hard time? Give her a call, send him a card, make a phone call and spend some quality time serving others. Helping others not only creates a sense of community and fellowship, but also does wonders for your spirit.
- Love yourself. Whether you need to pray, meditate, dance & sing in the shower, or enjoy a quiet afternoon in the park, do something that makes YOU feel happy and fulfilled. Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind, focus on your breathing, and find your center. It truly is amazing how simply taking 5 minutes out to BREATHE can truly relinquish tension & anxiety. Personally, I can’t get through the month without at least one massage or day at the spa doing nothing but enjoying me, myself, and I. If you can’t afford a spa day, light some scented candles, draw some bath water & luxuriate in yummy bath oils. There is nothing like a “Calgon evening” to make the stresses of the day disappear. One of my new self-care rituals is buying a fresh bouquet of tulips or roses for my home. When I’m surrounded by beautiful things, I really do feel uplifted. If you’re not kind and loving to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be?
In the meantime…
As I wait patiently for God to send me my King, I continue to love myself like no one else can and live my life to the fullest by traveling, becoming the best version of me, and pursuing all my heart’s desires. Life doesn’t stop simply because I’m not a “Mrs.” My happiness does not revolve around my single status; it is defined by my spiritual, physical and emotional fulfillment. Sometimes you have to stop worrying and have faith that things will work out, maybe not exactly as you envisioned, but just how they should.
In reality, dreams evolve and change. What I dreamt of achieving a year ago is not the same as what I dream for my future today. I’m learning it’s ok to let go of a dream that hasn’t come to fruition. I’m learning to let go and try not to control every aspect of my life. I am discovering how to surrender to the journey. Surrendering takes strength and it takes courage. Surrendering allows you to let go and make room for the miracle that will come. Every challenge in life is an opportunity to learn, grow and become a stronger individual; so I continue to stay strong, have faith, and never give up on my aspirations. As long as my heart remains open, I have no doubt that I will find someone or that certain someone will find me. I have a beautiful spirit, I emanate light and love, and deserve to be happy with a man who loves & adores me. It WILL happen. Until then, I will continue to be fabulous and live a life that makes me SHINE! Just as The Single Woman says, “It is in the waiting that we become who we are meant to be.”