My coach once shared a quote with me that said, “Take the Leap and Build the Wings on the Way Down.”
That was in 2006, about a year and a half after my husband Rory passed away, when I found myself at a major crossroad both personally and professionally. To bottom line it, I knew I had to make significant changes in the way I worked, how much I worked, how available and present I was for my young son and it was also time for some self-care.
Can you relate? I worked too much (because I thought I had to), I slept too little (because I worked too much), I was stressed out (because I worked too much and slept too little), I struggled with being a single parent to my young son (because I was stressed out), and I ran as hard and as fast as I could to not feel and experience the full and raw pain of my grief.
So, after much hand wringing, and more tossing and turning I decided to “Take the Leap and Build the Wings on the Way Down.” This involved quitting my job (a corporate career of 19 years), going back to school, starting a business and taking the time to breathe and to grieve.
For the past few years I have been building my wings and learning how to fly solo along my own personal flight plan. I have become accustomed to being alone, to making all the decisions for me and my son, and in knowing I had me and just me to rely on. Okay, it hasn’t been a bowl of cherries, but I’ve figured it out for the most part. (I still hit some turbulence now and then).
Now, enter my significant other, whom I love dearly and who has become a very important part of our lives. This, as you can imagine, is a very big deal! It is awesome and personally eye opening as well. Eye opening because I am still learning how to be the best me I can be and I can still get hung up. For so long it seems I’ve been the “widow” and all that entails. Now, after five years of flying with just my own wings, it seems I need to remember what it is like to have a “wingman” again. (A “wingman” is someone who supports and backs us up.) I’ve been somewhat afraid to lean on him. It is almost a forgotten behavior and I’ll also admit I have been a little fearful of losing someone I love again to death. Such is life. I know there are no guarantees, and I intellectually know not to spend my energies on the “what if’s” something happens to him, but with that said I am still a work in progress.
So, the next course on my flight plan includes continuing to work through my own personal issues (fear of another loss), to cherish my “wingman” and learn to allow myself to lean on someone and completely love again. I also plan to be a great “wing woman”, because I’ve learned I am strong and a great support person as well! This is and continues to be quite a journey. A woman’s (and a widow’s) walk or “Soaring Spirit” is ongoing, is it not?
My hope is to keep flying (adjust as necessary for turbulence) and I absolutely hope to see many of you building your wings, flying and soaring high in the sky.