Today is Day 8 of my 30 days of blogging challenge. Today's topic - a moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.
In 2005, I learned about something called blogging. I was in my first year of grad school, stressed out and wondering if I was smart enough to make it. I was just 22, in the beginnings of my adult life and trying to figure out who I was going to be and where I was going to go. I had all these thoughts in my head and so I thought "hey, I'll start a blog". In the beginning I wrote about what I was doing in grad school or random things that I saw in the news. Over time I began to finesse my writing, but still sharing when I felt like it. I shared the highs and lows of life at that time, from deciding to leave my PhD program to falling in love and then having my heart broken.
By 2007 I was living in Florida, working my first job, but still blogging. I realized that my grad school blog didn't fit anymore and I needed a new place to share my journey. And from that Searching For Satisfaction was born. I took the name from one of my favorite books, J California Cooper's In Search of Satisfaction. I felt the title and the book really summarized what I was looking for - a feeling of fulfillment and pleasure after reaching a goal or satisfying a need. I kept writing, venting a lot about how I hated Orlando and I feared I'd end up an old maid. I gained a small audience but I kept writing solely as an outlet for myself. Looking back and reading old posts, I feel how unhappy I was. Orlando truly wasn't the place for me, but I also fought the experience for a long time. Things changed when I changed my energy and decided to embrace the learning experience. 2010 brought me back to Minnesota, still writing about the journey. I've moved to self-hosting and a unique domain name, but I'm still documenting my life and sharing my thoughts.
I started blogging when I was 22, I'm now just two months shy of 31. That's almost nine years! Nine years of my happy times, my sad times, my random rants, my fears, my successes, my dreams, my nightmares, and more. My blog has truly become a time capsule of my life, documenting the various stages I've gone through over the years.
For many years, I was in search of balance in my life. My Orlando years were dominated with a happy career but an unhappy personal life. I enjoyed my job but hated where I lived and my social life. Things did get better, but I knew I needed to leave in order for my personal life to be what I wanted. Moving back to Minneapolis made an immediate change in my personal life but my career became insufferable. I was so unhappy in my career but my social network kept me from feeling helpless. I worried that I would never have contentment in both my career and my social life. Eventually I realized that I needed to learn a lesson, and once I did so, the opportunity I wanted came into my life. The career part became better, much better. The social life continued to be supportive. Yet I still felt like something was missing - I felt stuck. I knew where I wanted to be, but I could not figure out how to get there. I read books. I journaled. I meditated. I took a class. All that was good but it did not get me where I wanted to be. I didn't feel that peace in my spirit, I just felt angst. I still carried my fear of being unloved and ending up an old maid.
So I made the decision to stop being afraid and to get some help in the form of therapy. I'd toyed with the idea over the years, but I had never gone. I decided to stop being afraid and just do it. Try it and see how it goes. In that safe space, I found what I was looking for - an objective person to take a look and ask the right questions. She listened and reflected and asked me the hard questions. I learned so much about myself, and was able to figure out what was keeping me from being the woman I wanted to be - myself. Well, my thoughts about myself. I was my own worst critic and I was my own worst enemy. But not anymore. I have learned that I don't have to be anything but who I am. That I'm ok just the way I am. That I am awesome and I deserve to be loved for who I am right at this moment. That everything may not be the way I want them to be right now, but where I am is where I'm meant to be and that is a blessing. I never knew or thought any of that about myself before.
So when did I feel most satisfied with my life? Right in this moment. Earlier this evening I went to see my therapist, and we talked about how far I've come and how good I'm feeling. We talked about what has changed for me and how I'm feeling. For the first time, I feel a balance in my life. My career is good - I enjoy my work and my stress level is low. My personal life is good - I'm loved and I have a circle of people who support me. Best of all, I'm finally liking myself and beginning to love myself. I've never done that before. I'm pretended or liked certain things about myself, but I've never loved and accepted myself until now. Part of me wishes that I had done this sooner, but I know that I'm in the place I'm supposed to be. I'm just so thankful that I was able to grow and get to that next level of my life.
For so long my spirit felt unsettled, and now, I feel...peace.