Some people are frightened of spiders, for some people it's the dark or even just change or the unknown. My biggest fear is mediocrity. I am frightened that somehow I will wake up one day and realise that my life has up and passed me by, and I just settled. Settled for something mediocre and dull. Settled for a life I didn't really want because it was there and it was easy.

 I almost did this when I was young and stupid (given that I am still young I'll change that to young-er and stupid-er) and I got married at 21. To an idiot. That I didn't love (I didn't fully realise this at the time- but I now know this as I am infinitely wiser). I knew deep down something wasn't right but I squished that feeling up into a little ball and shoved it into a dark cob-webby recess of my mind and ignored it. It made a few valiant attempts to be heard - like the full blown body chills the night before the wedding that even a steaming hot shower couldn't warm up (I thought I was getting the flu) or even the fact that I inexplicably started crying on the morning of the wedding and couldn't stop for about 45 minutes (the looks from my bridesmaids were priceless during that time) but I soldiered on and married I was. I endured 12 months and 2 weeks of the crapiest excuse for a marriage that I can think of (thinking that it was a life sentence- torture in itself) before I was rescued.

Knights in shining armour come in many different shapes and sizes and surprisingly mine came in the form of a young maiden- also known as my husbands girlfriend. She called me one day and told me that she thought it had gone on long enough. She had thought of saying something the day of the wedding, but thought better of it last minute. She thought maybe now after 12 months and 2 weeks of him not telling me, that maybe she should. I whole-heartedly agreed with her. And so I was set free, to try again -with lessons learnt.

I was lucky. I had made a mistake that could have landed me with a "less-than" life. I was scared of being alone because I didn't think I was strong enough or brave enough to face life on my own. I didn't think I would ever find someone to love me in a real way because I didn't yet love myself. It took my life turning on its head for me to realise that in fact I was strong- stronger than I thought possible. I was brave too and many other wonderful things that I hadn't known about myself. I was lucky that I had the opportunity to find this out. I did learn from my mistakes and I vowed never to settle again.

It is now several years later and I am married to the man of my dreams. The lead up to the wedding was a time of anticipation and joy. There were no 'cold feet' or bouts of tears- just smiles and happy thoughts (and the occasional bridezilla-esque moment). I don't see my marriage as a life sentence but as a privileged existence. I get to share my world with my best friend and overall favourite person. My marriage is a testament to fact that the benefits of being true to yourself are infinite.

I used to wish that my first marriage never happened. I never thought I would say this but  I am grateful for it. If I had been fortunate enough to sail through life and meet my beautiful husband and have the happy marriage from the outset I may never have learnt what can happen when you settle. I may have been in danger of doing it with other aspects of my life and as a result ended up with the middle of the road, boring existence that I am so scared of. Now I have a little piece of my heart, that though healed is still scarred. That scar reminds me not settle. As long as I heed its warning I know I'll live happily ever after.

What life lessons are you grateful for?

Linking up with Kate from Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday :-)