As 2020 dares to come to an end, l hesitantly long to celebrate. With bated breath I find myself counting down the days to Christmas. I anticipate savoring cups of coffee while bundled up on the sofa in the glow of the Christmas tree. The snow, the carols and the flickering candlelight are all sensations that my soul longs for more in 2020 than ever before. Peace. I feel the collective cry for it from all corners of the world. Don’t you? And as Christmas passes and 2021 appears, hope for that peace just might be on the horizon. Vaccine. New president. New beginnings. Forty-five years of new years and I think…I HOPE… this one is about to be the most memorable one yet (in a good way, o please!).
It was never my plan to hit restart on a new beginning in the middle of a pandemic. I actually never planned to hit restart at all. The linear path that my parents modeled and taught served me well for half of life. Be a good student. Go to college. Get a Master’s degree. Get a good job that has health insurance and benefits. Find a husband. Buy a house. Start a family. Work hard. Serve others. Make sure your kids do the same thing. It worked for my Boomer parents and it basically worked for me, too…until it didn’t.
If truth be told, this linear path never fit like my comfy, well-worn, favorite pair of jeans that I wear at home for work today. It fit more like the jumpsuit that my mom bought for me in the 80s. Remember those? Mine had shoulder pads, big, gaudy flowers and a giant, square, bib-like collar that made it difficult to turn my head and often got stuck in my teased and hair sprayed poof. I wore it to church and felt like such a rebel to have on pants instead of my perfectly ironed and starched Laura Ashley dress. Heaven help us all! I think that is exactly what the linear career and life path always felt like to me. It was a decent fit, but awkwardly uncomfortable and not always flattering.
I guess I blame mid-life on the uncomfortable rumblings I started to feel a few years back. With years of success and failure, heartache and beauty under my belt, I started to realize that I was not the same person I used to be. Or, quite frankly, maybe I was finally starting to see for the first time the person I actually was all along. Whichever the case, Amy 1.0 just was not fully me anymore and those rumblings within me were starting to get very loud. With all of the goodness and beauty that I never want to let go of which has accumulated in my story for all these years, I also had a sense that there was an Amy 2.0 that needed to emerge. She was longing to integrate within the story that was being written of my life, a new beginning. It seems quite appropriate that at the very same time 2020 happened and threw everything else for a loop, as well. I have been trying to find my footing ever since.
For all the things I can not be sure of in the middle of this upside-down journey towards finding Amy 2.0, what I do know is this… Amy 1.0 is significant and her story created me. My career and choices created me. I am proud of her and I love who she was. Amy 1.0 made a beautiful family and a beautiful marriage and a lovely career and life. Everything about Amy 1.0 is my foundation. On the other hand, Amy 2.0 is wiser and more keen to life. Her ambition is different. Success and the American Dream is no longer the motivation. Significance and love and making a difference through living life from the purest place of who I was created to be is the path I am forging now. This new beginning feels exhilarating and out of control. I teeter on being scared to death to leap into the unknown and also like a force is pulling me there that I can not stop. I am full of fear and full of excitement and holding that paradox is a daily tightrope walk of emotion.
In 2020 I quit my steady, reliable job and set out for a new beginning. It was the job my parents had prepared me for and I was good at it. I could have remained there forever. I could have paid for my kids’ college and drawn a nice retirement. Yet, when rubber met the road, I could not stay. In 2020 I discovered that I have balls. I have guts that I didn’t know. When my values are challenged to the limits, I have a breaking point. At that point a person can choose to relent or break free. I puked. And then I said, “goodbye.” A new story finally had space to emerge.
After 10 months of having way too much Covid time on my hands, now I see that Amy 1.0 was created to blossom into Amy 2.0 all along. I think it must be the natural progression that at some point we all have to choose to embrace. I am scared to death. The faith it is taking to move into a new story is more than I have on most days. But I can’t un-know what I know now. I was created for more. If I have just one life to live then I want to truly live it. I want my husband to see me truly live. I want my kids to see a mom who truly lives from her truest self. And I am right in the middle of figuring out what more that means.
Right now that means taking side gigs to pay the bills while forging a new path. It may never mean a benefit package or top salary ever again. We may have to downsize and cut the Starbucks runs and wear those comfy jeans until holes appear. Soon, though, I know it’s going to pay off, because Amy 2.0 is going to flourish in all the things that matter and that non-linear path is going to be the path of my second half of life…whatever it is.
Goodbye 2020 – The year of my reinvention! Welcome 2021!! May we all find peace as the new begins.
Amy Colón is a freelance, content contributor and copywriter with over 20 years of experience in writing and education. She is passionate about international travel and encouraging women to leap beyond their comfort zones to intentionally explore the world.