10 years ago it was September 2001. On the 11th of that month I was awakened a little after 6 am to the phone ringing and hearing my then-boyfriend on the phone for about 10 seconds. About a minute later he came into our bedroom and told me to come and watch the TV. I shuffled out to the living room to see a building on fire, and soon after a plane crash into the building next to it.

“Where is this?” I asked. My boyfriend explained it was the World Trade Center in New York, a place I knew little about, having never traveled there and lived a sheltered life in San Diego, California.

My eyes never left the TV as I thought, “There probably isn’t anyone in the buildings, given that it’s so early in the morning…..” then I remembered it wasn’t 6 am there, it was after 9. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that there were people in those buildings. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, friends. As I watched one of the buildings begin to crumble, I broke down in tears and fell to my knees. I knew there were people in there and they were dying. It was too much for me to bear.

It’s hard for me to imagine many things, one being the pain and sorrow so many of those people experienced. And still do today. It’s hard for me to believe that 10 years has passed. Michelle Woodward recently wrote about her 9/11 experience and the 10 years that has passed in her life. It made me reflect on what has happened in the last 10 years of my life. In September 2001:

  • I was 26 years old and in love with someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.
  • We married 2 years later, and 2 years after that we divorced after I found out some shocking truths.
  • I worked in a job that was just “okay”, but saw no future in it.
  • I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder.
  • I then began a relationship with a drug addict.
  • I spiraled into an eating disorder.
  • I started drinking to cope.
  • I dropped out of college. I had been so proud of myself for going back to finish my bachelor of science and just couldn't do it anymore.
  • I got pregnant out of wedlock.

I look at this list and laugh a little because it surely wasn’t what I had planned my life to be. I had every season of my life planned out (with bullet points, printed out and taped to my wall) of what I was going to accomplish. I was excited about my life and confident it could happen IF ONLY everyone around me would do as I instructed and planned. But, my marriage ended. My mind tumbled. My self-esteem plummeted and I hated my life and who I had become. And for a while I blamed everyone else.

But, then I made a decision. It was unacceptable for me to live this life. Sure, I was dealt a shitty hand, but I knew I could do it. I knew I was destined for greatness and it included serving the world. I asked God for help and my friends. I made a decision I would love myself, get to know myself, find my inner badass self and get to work. And in those same 10 years:

  • I began recovering from my eating disorder.
  • I met an amazing man who showed me what a normal, healthy relationship is (and I married him!).
  • Finished my BS and graduated in 2009.
  • I started my life coach training and became certified in 2010.
  • Launched my life coaching business in September of 2010.
  • Had 2 babies, one in 2007 and another in 2009.
  • Found my life purpose to serve women to help them step into their most authentic selves and kick-ass lives.
  • I have met and befriended some of the most amazing women I could ever dream of. And let go of some old ones.
  • Got sober from drinking in 2011.
  • And the best part: I learned to love myself and own my story. My life is not perfect, and neither is yours. But, it’s absolutely possible for you to love yourself and your life.

So, with the anniversary of 9/11, I hope you can reflect on the last 10 years of your life. The good, the bad and the ugly and love it all. I do. There is nothing I would trade, even the most hurtful parts. It’s made me let go of planning the future so meticulously and embracing what is to come.  What I know to be true is the more we plan, the more life goes in all different directions. Once we let go of this “perfect” life that we want, we can start living.