“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ― Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell wrote many books. The two that made a significant impact on me is "The power of Myth." and "The hero with a thousand faces."
In his book, the hero with a thousand faces, the writer discusses his theory of the journey of the hero, the archetype one, found in world mythologies. The entire concept is divided into three acts.
Act one, the hero sets out on a journey of adventure from his ordinary existence. Act two, a decisive crisis happens, and hero overcomes the adversity. Act three, hero returns home changed or transformed.
The stories of each and every one, whether we want to accept it or not, will follow a similar pattern. If we take every story in this world, we will see that this can be applied in one or other way.
Why do I bring up the archetypal hero's journey with a topic names Second chances? Because second chances are nothing but a plot twist in life. Some dare to take it and continue the journey on a different plane. Others do not. Neither approach can be said as absolute right or wrong.
I embraced a second chance recently in regards to a life partner. Parents and a couple of thousands of people from immediate to extended family witnessed the beginning of my first chance. Unfortunately, a few years later I stood on a cross path, confused and alone, trying to decide one of the paths to choose to continue the journey of life.
The community and culture I come from don't accept the choice I made as an acceptable choice. As a woman, I later came to know that men do not have any different, I was expected not to want a second chance in life. The expectation was/is that I should live rest of my life for the kids.
I love my kids. That love had pushed me to live a life that comes closer and closer to values I hold close to my life. There are three major components to what triggered me to begin a life that slightly challenges the status quo of the culture and society I come from.
1. A thought. If it was my child, what would I want him or her to do? As a parent, it is my duty to model and shows them that life has more than one chance. To not give up if something as big as a marriage falling apart happens.
2. Life is to be lived. Because I became a mother, because I was a wife, because I do not fit the standard expectations doesn't mean I give up on life.
3. As human beings, we are all wired to feel connected, valued, and loved. Denying that innate need seems to bring out resentment and make me a less compassionate human being than I can be.
So, a second chance at life, a partner, an experience that is lovable, enjoyable, and meaningful. This time surprisingly I do not have anyone to witness it or give the blessing we so stubbornly adhere to the first time around. Instead, we both have been subjected to many questions. It is a bit odd as we both are 15 years or so older than the first time around. We both had lived lives of many hardships. We both have kids that we raise. And yet, we have been looked at as irresponsible adults, parents and loved ones.
We have decided to go against the norm in one more way. Pushing the boundaries, a little bit more. We both have had the legal paper that declared us to be married. And the marriage as it must exist between a man and woman ended long before the legal papers dissipated the unions. This makes both of us question the validity of that document our society values so close to heart.
Our goal is to live a life filled with kindness, respect, compassion, and love. For each other, for our kids, for our families, for our exes and for all around us. So, in our second chance, we are going to see if it is possible to keep the legality of 'have to' away for a bit and keep the humanity of 'want to.' close to heart. We love the fact that we both want to be there in the common space, that we both accept each other's kids with open hearts in that space, that we both hold enough room for our idiosyncrasies without taking each other for granted.
Yes, this is our second chance. And it is time I say it out loud without fear and doubt. It does not make us bad parents. It does not make us bad human beings.
This starting over makes us daringly ordinary human beings who are taking a step towards living a life of their choice. This is where we learn and accept that no one can save us but ourselves. That we are worthy of having a life that is meaningful to us and our children.
It is not an easy step to take. And we are taking it holding each other's hands, hoping, praying, and daring. Yes, this is a second chance we are daring to take, without any apology whatsoever.