I was finally able to pour a bowl of Cheerios now that the box was rescued from the top of my cabinets. I got my almond milk out of the fridge and glanced at the expiration date. It was August 23rd. My heart sank for a second as I proceeded to talk myself out of crying into the bowl. I get frustrated when things trigger me- especially in the middle of ordinary life. On the cusp of five years since he died, I’d like to believe I’m able to live without dates pulling my emotions like a puppeteer and live in a place where time feels kind and forgiving. Maybe there’s something to be appreciated in being able to feel deeply even when uncomfortable strands of grief are woven into it all.
I’m not sure there’s a magic formula to prevent the sting of life’s unpredictability. Break ups, divorces, loss of jobs or friends, death- it doesn’t matter which end of it your’e on, it will force you to change what and how you believe things should be. The lens we view life through is our reality and when our view gets blurry it can feel paralyzing. But we have the ability to change our perception. We can wear a shirt with a giant V on it for victim or we can learn to let go of the things, of the thoughts about situations or people, that feel like a vice against our temples. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. Letting go is about accepting that there are things that just can’t be. It’s not easy. Especially when your heart is always the last one to leave the fight.
There’s something about letting go that causes a metamorphosis-even if it’s not a welcomed one. The person I’ve become since Ken died has cost me a lot. It’s cost me people, relationships, spaces, things…..and sitting here typing tonight I wouldn’t choose any of those things I’ve lost over the person I’ve become. I appreciate what’s in front of me right now. I haven’t accomplished all the things I want to accomplish but I absolutely cherish the journey I’ve been on and all the hard work I’ve put in. I may not always get it right, but I’m right where I need to be.
My sister got a beautiful tattoo of a lotus flower and the word serendipity flows vertically beneath it. Some look at experiences and interactions as luck or based on a set of circumstances but I don’t think that even scratches the surface. I think when you stop holding the past so tightyly and you let go, you make room in your arms for possibility. That’s when some people enter your life at the exact time of need, want, or desire. It’s like they’re a sign that you’re on the right path. Sometimes it feels like you’ve heard their voice a hundred times and there’s something wonderfully familiar about the way they make you feel. It’s like all of a sudden you take a risk and serendipity is there to show you exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for. And while there really aren’t any explanation for the why’s to serendipity, you know in an instant that they’re the kind of chaos you’ve been craving.
On my own journey, I feel like I’ve been a stopping place. A place where people come to feel welcomed and special. I can’t say that grief has made me a kinder, gentler creature but it has made me understand that everyone has a battle they fight in some shape or form and the reality is that this all ends. If people only remember me when they need something I’m ok with that. We tend to overestimate our problems and underestimate our ability to get through them and if you/we can be there to remind someone of how incredibly capable they are, we should do it. What a difference it would make if we realized there’s no shame in being honest and there’s no shame in being vulnerable. It’s actually the beauty of being human.
It feels like we’re all on this endless pursuit to be happy, almost to the point of obsession. So why is it that when it’s staring us in our eyes is there a tendency to self sabotage or slowly back away? I think it’s because once your’e happy, once you experience that feel good feeling, there’s a fear that it can be taken away. Perhaps what we’re really seeking is joy. Something can “make” you happy but joy is something you feel, it’s an attitude, a choice, that comes from within not rooted in circumstance like happiness so often is. Sunrises, lying on your back looking at the stars, smiling at strangers (even if it’s from under a mask), marshmallows in hot chocolate….those are some of life’s little joys that creates pockets of happiness while we’re in hot pursuit of the life we want. There’s nothing weird about falling in love with the ordinary and feeling joy at your core.
I’m in constant motion, living life in a way that feels good for me. Does that match with everyones definition of how it should be done? No and I hope it never does. I get discouraged as much as anyone does about things in my life when my world is upside down and even when it’s right side up and not spinning fast enough. Some days the feeling of missing something, of loneliness tugging at my hair is enough to drive me crazy. I have to remind myself that my soul is beautiful, that my mind is fucking powerful, my heart is over pouring with kindness to give, and I have so many damn things going for me that I 100% can wait for whatever is meant for me. Atticus said “Never go in search of love, go in search of life, and life will find you the love you seek.” I think always believing something wonderful is about to happen is a pretty great way to live. So put down all the heavy things, let that shit go, and enjoy the ride.
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