I went to the beach on Sunday.
It was 88° and the perfect day for it here in Connecticut.
Two years ago I never would have done this.
Because while I was at the beach, three of my kids were swimming in a swim meet. And due to Covid there were no spectators allowed.
The swim meet was about 20 minutes away from Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Connecticut.
It’s a state beach and probably the first beach I ever went to in my life.
Here I am about 50 years ago with my Dad, sitting on the roof of the pavilion there.
Two years ago the thought of sitting on the beach, alone, while three of my kids were swimming in a swim meet, would have been completely absurd.
NEVER in a million years would I have done that.
LIKE NEVER NEVER NEVER EVERRRRRRRR.
The thought of missing a single second of anything they were doing just wasn’t even an option.
One thing of the BEST things to come out of the past 18 months for me is truly understanding that it’s okay to miss some of the things the kids are doing. The kids are okay.
I am okay.
It’s truly been a life-changing gift for me, this realization.
I guess it’s a combination of Covid and getting divorced.
It’s funny how your beliefs can change.
And it really shows you how your beliefs are nothing more than stories you make up in your head.
You’re the author of your thoughts.
And you can really write any thought or belief you want.
You can begin your story with, I’m never going to lose weight.
When you keep telling yourself that, you know what?
It comes true!
But what if you wrote a different story?
What if it started with, “I finish what I start.”
Repeat that on a loop in your head for days/weeks/months/years, and you know what?
It comes true!
Because you start to BELIEVE it.
I used to tell myself over and over and over again,
You can’t survive without the kids.
Missing any moments of their lives is too much. Unbearable.
This thinking is referred to as red light core stories by some people.
It’s described as worrying about stuff that may never happen by others.
Some people call these thoughts limiting beliefs.
Others refer to this type of thinking as a fixed mindset.
Whether you call it limiting beliefs or a red light core story or a fixed mindset or worrying about shit that might not ever even happen, these thoughts keep you stuck in situations that are unfulfilling or unproductive or unhealthy. Or all three.
And ultimately, these thoughts we have were created by us.
The more we repeat them, the more we believe them.
And it’s these thoughts – the ones created by us — that keep us from reaching goals and making changes and discovering new strengths because we have convinced ourselves of things that simply aren’t true.
They are just stories we’ve made up.
Because you know what?
While I wish I had the option to be there for every second of my kids’ childhoods, I don’t.
And yet, I’m surviving.
In fact, I am learning to enjoy the alone time while I have it.
And I LOVED it on Sunday.
I was able to just enjoy two hours by myself.
It was low tide, and I walked all the way down to the end of the sandbar where there weren’t too many people.
I had some time to just recharge.
To sit and listen and observe and relax.
No, I didn’t see my kids swim.
But it’s not like they were at the Olympics or anything.
There will be plenty more swim meets.
I’ll get to as many as I possibly can.
But I won’t get to all of them.
And that’s okay.
Because now the story I tell myself is, “I can survive anything.”
And you know what?
That story is way more interesting and fun to read the one the one I used to tell myself a couple years ago.
So I’m gonna keep writing this one and see where it takes me, cause going to the beach was a pretty good chapter, and I’m just at the beginning of the book.