I was talking with a friend of mine and we decided that it isn’t getting old, the inevitable dulling skin and aching knees that brings around moments of fear, it’s the idea, the realization, that we only have so many minutes left to fit in all the things we want to see, experience, and feel. I will stand firm in the notion that as we get older we tolerate less and less bullshit. Some of that comes from the wisdom acquired through survival of the naturally occurring ebbs and flows of life and some of it comes from the the understanding that there is a lot of time wasted on things that don’t add value to our lives.
We welcome a ridiculous amount of self doubt and insecurity into our lives by worrying about things that don’t bring us joy. I’ve probably spent more time worrying about things that have never happened than the population of South Dakota has spent waiting in line at the DMV. If something has the potential to hurt I’m going to find an exit strategy because I want to forecast that pain. I don’t want that showing up in the middle on an ordinary day unannounced. My attempts at building a safety net around my life have failed more often than not and at the end of the day I’m right were I would have been if I’d just left life and the universe be my compass. In reality, most of us never feel secure right where we are because we’re in a constant state of conscious and subconscious worry; worry about losing jobs, straying partners, not being able to find someone to love, loss of health, loss of life etc. The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day we’re improving ourselves in some way, that we are increasing the caliber of who we are, and that we’re valuable to our friends and family. In this moment right now, I can’t think of anything grander.
Age, aging, aged…..steaks, wine, cheese, or humans…..we’re all in the mix of it. I can sum up my 20’s and most of my 30’s feeling like “are we there yet?”. Will I ever be in a place where things don’t feel like a fucking struggle? I’ve worked through competing priorities and I’ve allowed life to swing me around by my pony tail when I didn’t have my priorities in order. I didn’t always make telling people how I feel part of my value system. I fell into the trap of not showing too many of my cards and using my words and emotions as a perfectly placed strategic move. I withheld love from people out of spite or fear. I’ve been absent in my own life and I’ve welcomed most things classified as just “ok” with open arms. I’ve only allowed one, only one, person to love me 100% on their terms in the best way they knew how while throwing all of my own expectations out the window. I wish I would have set that bar for myself decades ago. The realization that there are so many things that I should have said or done brings me to this blog. There are things I want people to know while I’m alive. I want them to know that I’ve been an uncaring and unconcerned person and I’ve loved harder and been passionate about things- more so than I knew was possible. Through all of the mess and splendor has come a level of wisdom and peace….I think I have finally arrived at that place I’ve been looking for out the window…I’m here and I want you to know these things:
If you are telling more than three people about a problem you aren’t looking for a solution you’re looking for attention. There’s no need to make yourself a victim.
There aren’t any “wrong” people that come into your life- everyone has something to offer you even if you don’t discover why until long after they are gone. That doesn’t mean that we have accept their bullshit as our reality or that we should grieve their absence. It simply means that they served some type of purpose in our personal growth. We’re all someones ex something and we’ve all been someones lesson at one time or another.
Some people don’t deserve you- we’re so conditioned to take everyone else’s feelings into consideration that we lose ourselves to people who treat us like they’re ordering a Subway sandwich, picking the parts of us that they enjoy and suit their selfish needs. Sorry pal, I’m a complete meal that comes with a burnt dinner roll wrapped in overthinking and emotions- no substitutions allowed.
Being authentic is scary- there’s a level of vulnerability that’s involved when you admit to yourself that right here, right now, is who you are. Somedays I’m a warrior conquering shit and other days I’m a ball of knotted up yarn without a beginning or ending point. I am far away from accomplishing all the things I want to but I appreciate what I have in front of me and the hard work I’ve put in.
Not everyone is your friend- there are a lot of voyeurs out there. I don’t need a stadium filled with faux friends where you can’t tell who’s rooting for or against you. My life isn’t a spectator sport….not everyone gets a ticket to this shit show.
You are a sum and total of all your decisions- you haven’t made a long string of mistakes, those are accidents. You made choices that landed you in this exact place. You want something different? Make different choices today or tomorrow, or whenever you’ve had enough. You are literally one decision away from a totally different life.
Attitude is everything- you decide what it’s going to be every single day. Wake up and kick ass or have your ass kicked. That’s up to you and no one else. If people’s actions are dictating your mood maybe it’s time to ask yourself how much your inner peace is worth to you. Let assholes be assholes. You don’t have to match their intentions. Sometimes you have to leave people to do the lame shit they do.
There is nothing wrong with feeling messy or complicated- regardless of what people portray on social media nobody is out there living their best life everyday. You don’t have to have it together all the time. A hard left into oncoming traffic has crossed my mind more than once. But, our lives are built around the sun rising and setting so to expect anything less from ourselves is unfair. Dark moments of self doubt are more often then not met with a sliver of sunshine from within ourselves or another person. Cry when you need to and laugh when you can and please, please never lose hope that sunrises bring new perspective. New beginnings happen every single day.
Don’t be afraid to lose people- Not everyone is meant to be with you forever. Some people will join you on your journey through life for hundreds of miles and others will hitch a ride until the next exit. Their time in your life isn’t always about you, it could just as easily be about what you have to offer them. When it’s time for them to go, let them. Sometimes you need your arms to be empty and wide open so you can welcome what’s next.
Not everything has to be an orchestrated event to be special- I’m not sure how we started relating happiness to numbered birthday balloons and destination addiction but there are so many special moments in our every day life that we overlook. A text when something reminds someone of you or a daily call to your friends or being greeted with a smile from strangers- the reasons to celebrate an ordinary life are abundant and note worthy. Soak them up.
We all need forgiveness- whether it’s 10 extra pounds, our crooked glasses, or the way we snort when we laugh….we all need someone to forgive our imperfections; to love us in spite of ourselves. We are all worthy of that.
If I ever told you I love you, I meant it- love, by my definition, is a strong pull of joy that dances in and out of blissful moments and the ordinary. It’s talking about the good and the bad. It’s building trust and being honest. It involves loyalty and being willing to be present in the moment. It’s making time for someone and leaving the past where it belongs, in the rear view mirror. It’s the understanding that seeing eye to eye isn’t necessary as long as were looking in the same direction. It’s knowing that all times aren’t happy, that people are messy, and to think that our love for someone will change something about them isn’t fair for anyone. Love is appreciating the flaws, and it’s helping to collect all the emotional baggage that won’t fit in the overhead bin and putting it in a safe place. And, love should be done in such a way that people feel free when they’re around you. If I’ve told you I loved you it wasn’t always in a pretty package, and sometimes it was too late, and sometimes it felt desperate but, life looks and feels like that at times. Just know, if I ever said I love you, regardless of the form or the timing, I meant every letter, every syllable, and every word in the most authentic way I knew how in that moment. My love isn’t perfect but it’s perfect for those who have been so willing to receive it.
I haven’t always the best Mom- I didn’t always appreciate my kids talking my ear off while I was trying to get something else done and I know that I threatened to change my name if I heard “mom” one more fucking time in the next 5 minutes. I was visibly irritated and lacked patience with their actions and attitudes and there were times that I focused too much on a C grade and not enough on the 5 A’s and B’s right there with it. Pick your crap up in the living room, put away your laundry, let the dog out, stop fighting with your sister…..the gentle reminders turned to a raised tone of voice, and eventually morph into the olympics of nagging. I have a gold medal…..ok, maybe I have 5 or 6. So much back and forth. I now know why children look so peaceful when they are sleeping- it’s a survival technique.
But I loved them the best way I knew how. I loved them when they were the most unloveable, Godzilla like monsters stomping around the house destroying the peace and I loved them when they were our there killing it- 150 consecutive pogo stick bounces, making competition drill team, getting an FFA jacket, drivers license, first jobs, the twelfth grade….their joy has always been mine. I wasn’t always emotionally present when life threw a few rubber balls at my face. After Ken died I didn’t know what the hell I was doing or even more perplexing was what I was supposed to do. But it was through them, through all of the kids, that I continued to find a purpose, a reason, a piece of hope, and a piece of myself. I have confessed to them more often than not that I have always needed them far more than they’ve ever needed me. They are safety and they are home. P.S. don’t think I don’t know about all the stupid shit you did behind my back, because I know….but I still love you.
Last but not least I want you to know that whatever makes you feel like sunshine from the inside out is worth chasing- I can name the things that have felt like that on both hand and I’m glad I chose to let my wild heart free to pursue them all. They were risks worth taking and have given me a life worth living- every person, every place, and every experience.