I’ve outgrown myself about twenty times in the last couple of years. I suppose I look the same as I did two years ago, but I assure you, my soul has been re-imagined and re-purposed time and time again.

My world was pared down. Not in a bad way, but in the way the tide creeps up, engulfs a sand castle and retreats leaving only smooth sand in its place. That kind of pared down. Beautiful. Pure. Less.

Life always provides a million moving parts and the last couple of years some people moved in closer, some drifted away, some, sadly, are gone altogether. Highly unusual suspects provided soft landings. There were inspired, chance meetings that still leave me in wide-eyed and giddy wonder. I’m mourning losses. I experience people differently now. More wholly. More real. One at a time. I don’t have the patience to politely smile and nod anymore. I crave connection.

Years ago, I read that as feminists we must learn to define ourselves outside society’s expectations. By considering raising a family as our greatest achievement, women were selling out to a patriarchal society. What a bunch of bullshit. My family is, without doubt, my greatest achievement. Pure and simple. Anything I do after raising four bright, resilient and passionate kids is gravy. Doing what I love makes me feel alive and challenges me everyday, but my family is my everything. I just can’t and won’t muster up shame because of it.

In the shuffle and re-shuffle of life, I consciously re-connected with simple pleasures I had been taking for granted: clean windows, freshly ironed sheets (yes, you read that right, I iron my sheets), a whole lotta live music. Literally and figuratively, I stopped running so much. I started walking more. I am amazed at what I notice now. I wasn’t as mindful as my gut needed me to be. Slowing down helped.

I used to have complicated plans for growing old. Not anymore. Give me a pink, mid-century motel with a swimming pool, a flag pole out front and one of those 1960’s cigarette machines in the lobby that dispenses, oh, I don’t know, gluten-free brownies. It’s not that I want to operate a motel, I just want to live with plenty of space for family and friends…in a pink motel with a bell on the counter, diamond shaped key chains and a kick-ass housekeeping cart filled with white soap and cheap, flimsy towels you don’t want to steal (but if you did, I’d offer an amnesty policy if you returned it, cuz, I’m nice.). I’ll be the grandma sitting on the balcony taking coaching calls, writing articles, happily growing more wrinkled by the day.

My takeaways on this soul-shifting journey I’ve been on? Two words: Good. Vibes. Sometimes we have to complicate our lives to simplify. Sometimes we have to simplify to simplify further. In the end, I’m pretty sure all we are going to want surrounding us is good vibes. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta stop for a moment and let ’em in.

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