I’ve put my career above all else. I’ve also stood in the kitchen unable to see my bare feet beyond a pregnant belly. I’m the same woman. The power suit still fits—I simply started making different choices. Those choices, as cold as bricks, continue to build the life I love.
There’s inherent vulnerability in choice. Too often I’ve put off choices waiting for perfect circumstances—learning later that is a choice (dreams left plastic wrapped in the attic of my heart are nothing more than fantasies). Only by opening myself up, by choosing vulnerability and subjecting my dreams to ridicule and the dusty uncertainty of chance do they become possible. I can’t take credit for this understanding. A friend and colleague sat me in front of her computer for Brené Brown’s TED Talk on the power of vulnerability some five years ago. Minutes into the clip, I knew I wasn’t living a wholehearted life nor was I harnessing the power of vulnerability.
Around the same time, my aunt started asking me about my plans for the future. Did I want kids? Did I want to get married? Looking back my aunt clearly understood the indifference of choice and time. She started talking timetables, warning me about waiting to make a plan. She urged me to make choices in alignment with my vision, although she didn’t use those words. (I’m pretty sure unsolicited advice is the birthright of aunts.)
Just acknowledging my desire for a family made me feel vulnerable. What if it didn’t happen? This shift, along with my aunt’s loving meddling, made this life possible. I wouldn’t be a mom. I wouldn’t be a wife today without her. I was living in the shadows of negative attitudes and beliefs. I spent nearly a decade protecting a closed heart, chasing success rather than internal wealth, wondering why true love never happened for me. I was always so defensive when anyone pointed it out. I’m grateful my aunt cared enough to try. I’m grateful I answered her questions. It’s obvious now how my attitudes and beliefs cemented my choices. How dating unavailable men was a choice. How putting my career above everything else was a choice. How remaining guarded was a choice. How I was free to make new choices.
We’ve all watched chance ravage some of our dreams. I realize things don’t always work out and my best life may not look like yours. However, I’m an aunt now. So, here’s some unsolicited advice; welcome uncomfortable questions, embrace vulnerability, start building the life you want with the power of choice today. Pull those old dreams down from the rafters, dust them off and bring them into the light. Life is truly more choice than chance. I know it’s scary but even when chance seems against you, just remember you retain the power of choice. You can choose to reimagine, redesign and start rebuilding your life whenever you’re ready to open yourself up.