Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflections of a Decade

Jenn had this great idea for a post. Writing about where you were in your life 10 years ago at the turn of the millennium and where you are now. I thought this was a great idea and was so excited to do it. Then as a reflected...we...for a word...WOW!

1999 - I was working in a small -midsized company that had embraced the new computer technology a few years back and was now facing the Y2K scare that was such the hype. I loved my job, I was well respected and at 27 years old felt like the world was my oyster I could go anywhere from here.

The song "Party like is 1999" by Prince was in over play on the radio all week long.

Personally I was struggling in a 7 year old marriage that wasn't "unhappy" per se, but it wasn't going or growing, well, anywhere.

I spent the New Year's Eve of 1999 in a small rural farm with my then husband and our closest and dearest friends out in the middle of a horse field, roasting marshmellows and drinking beer around a fire in our snowsuits. One cooler held the drinks, another held the hot food like meatballs, hot dip, hot chocolate, crab cakes. It was a wonderful, peaceful way to spend new year's eve after all the hype in the media about power outages, the apocolypse and whatnot.

In the days that followed, as I reflected on the new decade, the new millennium something was settling into my heart, into my bones, into my soul.

My dear friend was expecting her second child, my sister was planning her wedding, there were big changes happening at work. At home things were the same, not overly happy, not overly sad, the same as always. There were lots of issues but starting a family was a big one and we did not seem to be moving anywhere on the topic for the past 5 years.

I sat down one day at my kitchen table and made myself a list of what I wanted my life to be like in the next 5-10 years. I wish I still had it to share with you, but I know it included, a husband who is my partner in every sense of the word, a family, opportunities in my work to grow and learn. I wanted to smile more, laugh more, give and feel love more. I just wanted more.

I moved forward with determination, survival instincts. We were on a course for an epic fail, I was busy planning for my sister's wedding and feeling like he was withdrawing and not giving a crap about my family. I will never forget the day I was running around the house trying to pull everything together for a party for my sister when he asked me the question.

"We're going to be okay, aren't we?"

There they were... hanging in the air in our kitchen, the words that had been whispering, haunting, growing silently. He stood at the doorway and I sat on the kitchen table, took a deep breath and responded.

"I don't know?"

That week went from bad to worse as we tried to figure it out. It culminated in a whirl of hurtful words and feelings and me packing up the last 7 years of my life and moving most of it to a storage unit and the necessities to my parents.

I struggled to keep it together. This was a difficult decision. I loved him and I loved being married. But what I settled on... in my heart and soul was that I did not like the person I was, when I was with him.

I knew I was a good person, I knew I was capable of great things, I knew I was capable of giving more love and support than I was. I knew I deserved more love and support and encouragement than I was feeling. None of those things were coming into play in our relationship much less my life and I could no longer accept that.

Something had to change. We both knew it. I was the one who had the fortitude to say, own it, and be it.

It sucked! He moved on fairly quickly and I dated with no intention to develop a relationship. I dated for a distraction but I was focusing on what was next for me. Within 6 months an agreement was in place, he was in a relationship and the birth of a child was expected (ouch!) within the year we were divorced.

At 27 years old I had invested 10 years of my life, I was scared, broken, vulnerable but hanging on by a thread to what I knew was my truth. Again, I sat down and made myself a list of what I was looking for in a man, a partner, a husband. I would share this with you, but I had it framed and gave it to my current husband on our first anniversary. I had this little list tucked away in a journal that sat on my night table, I would review it now and then.

Carrying on I met a guy through relatives, in passing really, we crossed paths several times, but neither of us was ready to pursue a relationship. The more I got to know him, the more items I was able to check off the crazy list I had scribbled in my journal. Eventually we were crossing paths frequently enough that it was time to give it a try.

Flash forward to today as I prepare to bring in 2010. I am happily, ecstatically in love and married to the partner I was seeking. I have a beautiful happy and healthy growing family. I have good and great relationships with my family and friends.

When my teenage nieces asked me "how will I know when I am with the one?" I tell them with confidence that being in a relationship should make you more of who you are already, better, shinier. (that's how I feel, like I shine)

Life is an ever evolving dream, are their things I am still working towards, you bet!

If you would have asked me on that peaceful, dark winter night 10 years ago if I would be married to a wonderful man with 2kids +1 on the way and living the life of Riley. I would have said yes of course! I knew that was where I wanted to be. I just didn't know that it would be such a journey with so much change and growth.

So this year while I sit with my orange juice and sparkling mineral water waiting for the ball to drop, I'm going to plug in my iPod (so I don't wake the kids) and shake my booty to a little Prince and be so thankful that I am where I am today.

I love being me !

Where were you in 1999? and where are you today! Have a look. You've come a long way baby! Give yourself some credit!


  1. Wow Shann, such a parallel. In 1999, we had just buried my father which was kind of the impetus for me owning my decision to get out of a really not happy marriage. I didn't like who I was becoming. It was not always easy for sure. I too was working in the Y2K help save the world mode. Now in 2009, I am looking forward to be married in 2010 to a man who makes me feel shiny!!! I love the word you chose for it. Thanks for making me realize how far I too have come!

  2. oh and since that time I have met Jenn who has taught me to listen to me, my body, my soul, my mind and my inner being. She saved my life and for her I am truly grateful!

  3. OMG Shannon! I have a parallel story too! We haven't seen each other in years and so I had no idea (your writing is amazing by the way). Anyway, I spent the first part of the 2000's thinking I was destined to be single and child-less for the rest of my life, as I had spent the most part of my 20's (in the 90's) single and unhappy. If I had to be single, dammit I was gonna be happy, is what I decided for the 2000's. So in this peaceful state of mind, I decided one day if I was going to meet someone, what would I want in a partner, husband, and I kept it in my bedside table drawer. I lived alone at the time and travelled often for work so there it stayed for a couple of years and I almost forgot about it. One day I met Joe, the year I turned 34, and a few weeks later I was off on another trip, and asked Joe to watch my place, water the plants etc. He picked me up at the airport and took me home, where he surprised me with 1. a new entertainment center for my birthday he had built himself in the matter of one week and 2. he sat me down and confessed he had found this list in my bedside drawer. I was at first MORTIFIED that he had gone in my drawer (what was he looking for!???!!), and OMG what did he think of it, I had only known him a month - surely he is going to dump me claiming "i am too serious".... and he proceeded to go through the list and say "check" to each one confirming that I had indeed finally met the person I described in that list!!! And the happy ending is we married and we have a little boy, though we are both set in our ways and became first time parents at 36 yrs (and possibly still not finished) and so it's not always easy. But we know the other side all too well and I will take the small daily challenges any day for the piece of heaven I gain for a lifetime!

  4. Thanks for the great comments! No kidding Kelly can't believe what a difference a decade has made!

    on another note! OMG he read your list!!

    I guess that's how you both know its right. I mean, he saw the list and checked it off, he can't go back on it now!


    Hope we can get together next time your in town.