As I sit here on the precipice of a new decade, I can’t help but reflect on the past 10 years. Ten years ago, I was celebrating my second New Year’s eve as a married woman; the still newly dubbed Mrs. Beck. We were living in North Carolina for the first time ever. I was hundreds of miles from everything and everyone I had ever known. My life was changing in leaps and bounds. I was in my mid-twenties, starting a new graduate program at a new university, in a new state. It may as well have been a new part of the world. I was working in a new field, doing a job that I had never planned on doing. It was liberating and it was frightening. I was learning new things about myself daily. Up to that point in my life, I hadn’t really been living so much as traveling from point A to point B. Suddenly, I was left alone with just the Big Guy and my thoughts in my world. That was the year that I really began to define myself and learn to be not who everyone thought I should be but to become who I really was on the inside, free of any paradigm. It was exhilarating to discover the me buried under the sister, the daughter, the friend. The world was my oyster. Possibilities were endless and all I needed to do was figure out what I wanted to do with all this new found liberation from expectation.
Fast forward, 4 New Years later and we are celebrating our 5th year of marriage in our first home in Tennessee. We were 7 months pregnant with or planning to plan baby, Bella. My belly way burgeoning, my heart was bursting and I just knew in my heart that something astonishing was right around the corner in our lives. You know that feeling of excitement and fear that takes hold of you and then catapults you at lightning speed head first smack dab into the middle of your life? As you stand there looking down the barrel of the impending changes, your heart is racing but you are happy to be hurled. You take one last deep breath, step up to your turn and embrace it with a fervor, whatever may come. That is exactly where I was sitting on that New Years Eve. I had no concept what being a Mommy would feel like, what it would entail and the depth and breadth in which it would genuinely change my existence…the very way that I moved through the world.
Fast forward, 2 New Years later, the Big Guy, our then 18-month-old Bella and I sit in our second home… in Indiana. Again, I am sitting with a burgeoning belly and a bursting heart. We are expecting our second child and all is right in the world. What more could I want out of this world? My cup of life overflowed with love. At that moment, I felt like I had everything that I had ever imagined I could need in my life. People spend their entire lives searching for the kind of relationship that the Big Guy and I have together. To me, our girls were the living, breathing manifestation of all that love and respect that we have for one another. I sat there, fat and happy to be exactly in that moment.
Fast forward, 3 New Years later, the Big Guy and I are sitting in corporate housing with our two beautiful little girls in Virginia where we had recently moved. Life was chaotic and crazy and spinning a bit out of control. We had just started to adjust to the fact that we were again away from all family and friends with two very small children. We had spent the fall forging a new life for ourselves. Redefining borders and creating relationships with strangers, changing our perspectives and embracing change. We were blessed to have the opportunity to hit reboot even if it was forced upon us. Once again I was forced to take a hard look at myself and decide who I wanted to be in this world. It started an evolution revolution within myself. I began to realize that I had to be the change that I wanted to see in my world.I could either sit back and let life happen to me or I could jump up and make things happen for me. Last New Year set me up for becoming the person I never knew that I always wanted to be. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are blessed with so much in life. I only needed the moment of quiet change to realize it.
Tonight, a decade of New Years is coming to an end, a lifetime of change has taken place in my life in the last year alone. We, the girls and I, are living back in Indiana. The Big Guy no longer lives at home, due to job location. Luckily for me, we are actually more in love than that first New Years so long ago. He is my anchor in life, he keeps me grounded when I am about to fly off the deep end of reality. I’m his balloon, I lift him up when our circumstances pull him down. Our babies are now 3 and 5. I’m looking at them, as I type, and I can’t even believe it myself. They are so beautiful and perfect in the face of such craziness. The last year has not been easy but I think it made us all stronger. We were downsized, relocated, then the Big Guy has been away for the new job. Our lives have been in limbo and hell concurrently but you know what? It’s not impossible but its just the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This year, as difficult and testing as it has been, as much as I would not wish this kind of situation on anyone, it has made me once again aware of my blessings in triplicate. It’s given me an opportunity to focus on who I am. Who I want to be in the world. It has made me a stronger person, a more devoted wife, a more aware mother.I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I
‘ve also made a lot of hard decisions that have made our family better. I am a little worn for the wear but now I am focused. I am heading into the next decade with a renewed sense of self, a new determination to succeed, and a greater appreciation for the life and people that I have been blessed with in my life. What a difference a decade has made. I have come full circle and been made better in the journey. Next New year, I will be sitting someplace new but still with these 3 amazing people that I have been fortunate enough to spend the rest of my life with.
How was your past decade? What was the highest and lowest point? What will you do differently in the next decade? Happiest of New Years to you all and your families.