The life I wanted

by Carmen Cromer. Average Reading Time: about 5 minutes.

22 January 2019

On reflection at the start of this year, I realised I’ve made the life I wanted. In three short (but endless) years.

It’s three years today since my daughter was born at a minute to midnight. My life today looks completely different to the way it did back then, in January 2016.

But for completeness of documentation, I know that things had really begun to change almost a year before that. In February 2015, I was very ill, recovering in bed from two operations to remove a baby that didn’t live (I was almost 5 months pregnant when we found out he had the chromosomal abnormality, Trisomy 18 – ‘not compatible with life’). It should’ve been a straightforward operation, but it needed to be done twice, then I got infection on top of infection… and then I also somehow got pregnant again.

My gynaecologist was surprised… Both babies were a surprise. It had not been part of the plan. To be honest, I didn’t really have a plan. But life, as it does, handed me one…

As sad as the death of the unknown boy was, that time sick in bed sparked a deep self-reflection in me that had me saying: No More. And committing to creating the life I wanted no matter what. So he was important, and his death wasn’t in vain, and I have a lot to thank him for – in addition to the fact that my daughter would not be here without him.

And because I love a list, here’s the unedited dot-point version of the journey…

What I was saying No More to:

  • No more blaming others for what I didn’t have
  • No more working for other people, ever again – I simply wasn’t designed to do it
  • No more half-assing it in my own business (which I’d been running on and off since 2003)
  • No more avoiding who I was and what I wanted
  • No more jumping from one shiny object to the next, trying to work out why I was so restless and dissatisfied
  • No more financial issues – especially no more being underpaid for what I did
  • No more working in my zone of competence/excellence – only zone of genius from now on
  • No more migraines
  • No more crippling anxiety

What I knew I needed to do to change:

  • Find out who I was – like, REALLY was
  • Find out what I wanted – again, the hidden, below-the-surface wants
  • Find out how to tangibly create that in real life (quickly and easily) – so it didn’t stay a dream

(Some of) What I’ve discovered since then:

  • I’m a genius at identity work
  • Cognitively, I’m in the 1% of the 1% – I’m a rare thing
  • I’m not designed for the conventional
  • I’m a synaesthete
  • I have a high tolerance for risk
  • I’m autistic
  • I’m a writer and artist to the core, with a streak of business (not the other way round)
  • My life must be beautiful
  • It’s easy for me to make money – but it’s not about the money for me
  • I have a Mensa IQ and the emotional age of a 14 year old (thanks, autism) – a paradox in every sense
  • I’m an extrovert – not an introvert like I’d previously thought
  • It doesn’t matter how hard it gets, I don’t give up
  • The outcome I wanted to create for my work meant I had to design something that didn’t yet exist
  • I was a practicing witch (actually, practitioner of magic is more correct) until the age of twelve – and it was time to start again, after a thirty year break

What I created:

  • A one-of-a-kind business that makes more than $250k a year
  • A lifestyle that means I work about 8 hours a week, with amazing clients who want to – you guessed it – find out who they are and what they want, and how to make it real
  • My own unique, unrepeatable synaesthetic-based creative/investigative process that helps clients get what they need
  • The space to be creative on my own terms
  • The space my neurodiverse brain and my overly sensitive body needs in order to function

How I did it:

  1. Made the decision (during those weeks while ill in bed) that I was committing to this process, no matter what – I was prepared to leave my husband, my kids if necessary. I was focused like a motherfucker on finding out who I was. No. Matter. What
  2. Started searching and researching – every spare moment was spent in increasing my self-awareness and self-reflection. Like a woman possessed
  3. Hired professional help (mentors) – I invested a lot of money in mentors to speed up this process – and I did this while not earning an income AND with a brand new baby
  4. Got clear on what I wanted. NB: this is a never-ending process – there’s no destination you arrive at – I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life. But, the basics are that in each moment, I took immediate action on what I knew I wanted in that moment
  5. Created the identity of the version of me that had everything I wanted, and started acting from this place in every moment
  6. Shut down the old version of my business, quit my job and launched my new business – coaching and mentoring – with a brand new baby
  7. Believed 1000000000% that I would make it work, regardless of what others said
  8. Ruthlessly removed everything from my life that didn’t fit with the picture of what I wanted (and have continued to ruthlessly remove things)

What I have today:

A peaceful existence in a beautiful place. Happy, healthy children. A husband who fascinates me. A plan for 2020 that includes world domination in Dark Luxury Branding (my creation), writing an illustrated young adult series, painting and portraiture work, more investments (houses and vintage cars). Travel. A couple of writing masterclasses. A weekly schedule that includes a few phone sessions with clients, and lots of time for reading, working on my creations, the ocean…

And, importantly, I know have almost total control over my anxiety, so I have finally, finally, finally been removed from the cyclical grip of it (and the grip of the things I was using to cope with it – namely alcohol).

Everything’s not perfect, obviously. That’s not the point.

But I don’t recognise myself from where I was four years, even three years, ago. And I can say with total honesty, that I have created the life I wanted. It’s all mine.