The past decade as my own pilot, I’ve been used to turbulence in some way or another, attempting new paths out of stormy skies, or at least how to manage them in broad and very specific ways. The prior decades had their struggles, no doubt, but as with most of life’s experiences, I feel one builds on top of the other to create the ones with deep impact. The ones that will change your course, possibly alienate you from friends and family, or loved ones that you thought you once knew. It can also be a battle within to figure out who you are compared to who you once were.
A few years ago, my friends celebrated my birthday with me, I believe it was my 33rd, but instead of placing 33 candles on a cake or just the numbers themselves, they deemed it my 8th birthday. In a way it was true, I had started to really question my lifelong religion in my early 20’s, shortly before having my daughter, but had brushed away doubts until they could be ignored no longer.
The combination of life experience, truly being on my own, starting to see the world as an adult, and asking the tough questions in relation to myself and others could not be answered anymore in the way they once were. My brain was continuing to change and grow and it would continue to as I studied, not only what professors and theory could teach me, but also what I feel was inside of me all along.
If religion suits you and you’re happy and it gives you what you need, helps you feel like a better person and at minimum, helps you feel motivated to be a better human, I think that’s amazing.
Personally, my principles don’t have a pastor, prophet, bishop, or any other person to look to for guidance. I suppose it can feel lonely in a way, I must look inside myself and that isn’t always very pleasant. I don’t have a community anymore, so I must build one slowly, my little family is my community at this point, and my small circle of friends.
It doesn’t change that despite what I feel I lost, and there are stories upon stories of what that entails, what was gained was awareness, freedom of thought, freedom from misplaced guilt, the ability to fully experience a relationship with my father and heal old wounds from the rifts that were built there, the incredible witnessing of a metamorphosis in my immediate family that we all emerged from stronger, wiser.
The freedom to be myself and continually explore who that is, even as I fall flat on my face sometimes in the process.
Most of all, in this second life, a gift supplemented by the first, I’ve learned to see humanity, not just this life as a step to the next, I don’t know for sure if there will be one, but I do know that I’m free to love unrestricted, as much as it can hurt in this sometimes cruel world.