I made a comment to a friend today that I wish I had a quarter of the wisdom I have now in my 20’s and 30’s. I had a lot of hard lessons and forced resets and restarts but, the sense of freedom I have today, allows for a little bit of peace to fall over those moments of uncomfortable growth. As our conversation continued, I looked back….
Living in the now- Life moves too fast or too slow and most days were plotting and planning our next move beyond the moment we’re in. Do what you can with what you have wherever you are. I don’t want to concern myself with the life I hope to have over the one I’m already living. I want to exist now and to be happy and satisfied with what and who is in my life. I held my life hostage waiting for the right time and the right thing I had talked myself into. I ended up zigging and zagging around things that didn’t match the blueprint of my minds eye and I missed out on people, experiences, and countless happy days. Never ever, again. Never.
Trust- If you can’t trust the person you’re building a relationship with or the one you love then you are setting yourself up to have your mind turned upside down. I read that a relationship without trust is like having phone with no service. And what do you do with a phone with no service? You play games.
They aren’t always two player games- they’re games that go on in your own head. Lack of trust is more than the fear of that person being interested or involved with someone else- it’s trust they’ll take care of your soul. A safe place to be vulnerable and to communicate are building blocks a lot of relationships are missing. Being a widow, I have days where feelings are all over and my emotions are misguided. I cycle through trying to balance my past and the present and somedays I need someone to be patient and wait for me on the other side of it all. Red flag alert: If people are watching you struggle and aren’t helping they aren’t your people.
Authenticity- There have been plenty of times in the last 4 decades that I sought approval from others- more for validation than anything else. But, when you’re unsure about yourself and what you bring to the table it’s easy to seek that out in other people as a means to self sooth. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that in the moments I was branding my life to what I thought other people would like I wasn’t being authentic to myself. I cuss too much and I’m awkward. I speak my mind with as much rationalization as I can and other times I lose my shit and say all the wrong things with the right intention. I care about people like their lives depends on it and I love harder than I’ll ever get back. If those things are too much or too little for you there probably isn’t anything I can do to earn your approval anyway. Never round your edges and trade your authenticity for approval.
Head space- Gandhi said “Don’t let people walk through your mind with their dirty feet.” I have let people linger in my mind far longer than they should have. It’s not my job to make people appreciate me or for me to look for clues that they value me. Life has taught me that good sex doesn’t make them stay and loving them doesn’t mean they’re the one. Being able to let go without losing the experience isn’t easy but evicting people from your mind isn’t any easier.
Intuition- My gut knows best. Im not sure there is much more to say about this. But, I know first hand, that I’ve needed reminding of this more often than I choose to admit. Whether we call them red flags, signs-whatever nomenclature you use it’s all the same. There is something that triggers a response that the situation, people/person, or something that can’t even be pinpointed feels off or not quite “right”. It’s easy to dismiss these feelings and blame them on overthinking, being emotional, acting crazy….all those things we tell ourselves because there are often realities that require action if we listen. Believe me, there have been times that I had earplugs implanted and had I been true to myself and what I felt I would have learned the lesson quicker and found peace sooner. My intuition knows best and when I go against her- things get messy.
Sometimes life just sucks- Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Truly, the only thing any of us have control over, is how we respond to the uppercut. More often than not, if I freak out or negatively react it won’t change anything. It won’t make my tire any less flat or make the weather clear so my plane can take off. My luggage won’t magically appear at baggage claim and it won’t make people suddenly love and respect me. At times it’s best to just let things be- not everything needs an explanation or answer or an ending that’s neatly typed out in paragraph form. Sometimes shitty things happen and they’ll never be anything but shit no matter how much you polish that turd. Life becomes simpler when you focus less on what’s happening around you and more on what’s happening inside of you.
But, life goes on- It’s a little bit of a phenomenon how we manage the absence of what we once thought we couldn’t live without. Then, we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted. Life finds a way to keep pushing and guiding us on journeys we would never have gone on if it were up to us. Don’t be afraid to have faith, find the lessons, and trust the path. A person whose heart isn’t afraid to love and whose feet aren’t afraid to walk is someone who won’t be stopped.
Running only gets you so far- After Ken died, and up until recently, I spent a lot of time running away from a dot on a map. I left Minot and started over in a new place. I traveled to escape the way I was feeling- even if it was temporary. And now, I travel for work which keeps my head in the clouds. What I’ve had to come to terms with is that the broken, confused person I wanted to leave behind would still be with me when I got home. Running to and from things is exhausting and it wasn’t until I became aware of my own bullshit and faced my fear of having roots that I was able to get off the treadmill and stop going nowhere.
Not everything is something- You will encounter people that you feel a connection with. Your interactions with them are effortless and fun. You can be the most genuine and caring person to them and there will be times they won’t love you, but they’ll love way you love them. If you live with the expectation that people will match your energy and reciprocate your efforts you’ll end up with empty buckets. But when you learn to love without it being dependent on a person and you extend love because it’s your state of being when and if the other person changes or leaves it doesn’t matter because the way you love is part of who you are.
Your parents- I have a typical divorced parent story except mine involves one parent being absent for most of my life and the other off and on for the last 15 years. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the why’s of our parent/child dynamic. It has taken me 25 years as a parent myself to understand that as kids none of us understood that our parents still had work to do on themselves. I wasn’t a cookie and Koolaid mom. I wasn’t perfect but I have always loved and been available for them and they both feel that to this day. I don’t view my relationship or lack there of with my parents with scrutiny anymore. I choose to believe that they loved me the best way they knew how- even if it was in survival mode at times.
This is it- I was visiting with a great friend last week and I was telling her how much a hated the countdown to the 23rd. I don’t like having feelings that are tied to a date on the calendar- it’s just hard. She asked me if I realized how much living I had done since Ken died. I thought about if for a few minutes and she’s right. This is not a practice life, this is all there is I don’t want to miss a thing that peaks my curiosity.
There are no mistakes in life, only opportunities that come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of how painful they may be they all give you time, experience, and courage to change your view on life and even yourself. I’ve learned in real time that everything that has transpired in my life has brought me to this moment. The good, the bad, the things I felt I’d never recover from- they have all shaped this wildly curious soul into one of kindness, reckless love, hope, and a dreamers heart that is endlessly fueled by serendipity. Living beyond the comfort of a stagnant state of mind has saved me from myself.