Yesterday, as I drove my daughter over to the Walmart and I was feeling lost (as I've been feeling again this week), I thought to myself how different the world looked to me today than it had looked before the last set back a week ago. It’s been a pretty rough 4 years now with a lot of ups and downs, trying to just take it one day at a time and trying to focus on the positives – which there are many and I should be thankful (and I am) but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I’m feeling like a stranger on this planet again and a bit sorry for myself again (which I loathe).
As we drove by other cars and people going about their routines, it washed over me that in reality the world really doesn’t change much – not really – not week to week – it’s just how we look at it that changes. The world stays constant but how we feel about it changes. I mean, I guess I've know this for quite awhile now and it has been a core belief I’ve carried with me for most of my life but I’d never really realized it in one of those “ah ha!” moments. Ah-ha!
If you’ve read my hubs you know that my mom died of congestive heart failure after fighting that wicked disease for a year and a half. Hospice doesn’t really come in until they think you are in the “few months away” range and certainly within the half a year range of dying but my mom lasted longer than anyone would’ve thought – except for her possibly. She always did like to maximize a good value!
During that time we learned to live day to day and to appreciate each day that we got to spend together. It was a gift and we knew it. We tried to make that day another good day and if we couldn’t we tried to make it a comfortable rest day so we could have energy for tomorrow. It’s difficult to live when every morning you wonder if your mother is just sleeping late or if she is in her bedroom dead. It was a grim but true reality we faced each morning. Every morning we debated about checking on my mom but she had been having troubles sleeping so we usually decided to wait it out. Wait it out because if she’s sleeping then you don’t want to ruin that rest and if she was dead... it didn’t really matter anyway. So we waited and every morning you’d hear her stir and then shout out that the coffee better be brewing!
Day By Day
I’m not sure but I think that most people get settled into their routines and then once in awhile you get that kick in the ass that changes it all – like you lose a job or someone you love learns they are seriously ill or dies. It shakes all that was comforting to you. It disrupts your routine and you feel lost. In the past four years I’ve often felt like I was in one of those stop motion commercial sequences where I’m looking around but I’m in slow motion and the rest of the world is just racing by. I think most people aren’t in that zone most days... most days they are just concerned about the timings of the day and going about their routines. Even during that year and a half with my mom we settled into a routine eventually of caring for her and as hard as it was – it was what it was – and it became our “new normal”. Then she died and it was right back to that lost feeling and it truly sucks. But it passes.
I lost my job in 2009, which worked out in some ways because it let me spend valuable time with my mother - it was a gift that I'll always treasure. But it constantly weighed on me. It was like sands of the hourglass running out. I wasn’t sure if I could get back in the game and provide for my family. When I started to get back on my feet again I thought back on the unemployed days and wished I’d enjoyed them a bit more. We were living day to day and we were enjoying most of those days so in a sense I did enjoy the time off and the freedom of not having to worry that something would go wrong at work but I still fretted about my future. I told myself I wish I had not fretted so much and that I needed a little faith. I lost my sense of self and the knowledge that a life well lived is one where you embrace each moment and offer the best of yourself to those around you. To be a beacon for those you love, not a weight.
And here I am again, needing a little faith. I had a great job with great people but it came to an end and I’m once again looking for work, for a purpose – for a place in this earth – and I just feel lost again. I mock my old self for thinking I could “just enjoy it” – just enjoy the time off because it truly is hard to enjoy something that if not changed will lead to a complete financial collapse But freaking out about it is really not helpful and is not productive. Life is challenges we need to face and success might be more how you handled those bumps in the road versus actually avoiding them.
I do think it is true that the only thing that drastically changes in our lives is perspective and that is what we most need to get a handle on to be successful, to be happy. And when I find myself slipping into that pity party I take a breath and say "knock it off - this is no good".
Wallowing sucks, although I did give myself two days to wallow - because I needed to get it out of my system and I couldn't "zen it away". But for the long haul, it’s no good feeling sorry for yourself – it’s a poison. It’s not good to feel like you are a victim - so don't do that. I’ll continue to embrace being true to my self and do the best that I can every day. That’s all I’ve ever truly striven for. That’s the measure of a man that my mother instilled in me. To be positive and to keep my head up no matter the circumstances. To not lose who I am.
Don't Give Up
Just words I guess if everything is going smooth. But you are never tested if things are always going smooth and it is for sure that things will not always go smooth. It is Life's guarantee to all of us. When things are going smooth they don’t tend to stay that way for very long. Change is about the only constant in the Universe beyond a person taking control of their outlook and keeping that constant. It’s the “life isn’t what happens to you, it’s how you deal with what happens to you that’s important” philosophy.
There is a lot of crap to deal with in this life and if I have faith in anything I have faith in that. And you stay positive for you because the other way is no good and self-defeating. You show strength to people that rely on you and hopefully the people you relied on show the same kind of courage when their time comes. If you fall short, you deal with that too – you get up, you dust off and you try again. There is no disgrace in failure, the most successful people have usually failed multiple times - but they didn't give up. Don't give up.
Life IS a struggle but I do think that most of that struggle is our own perception on events. Life is beautiful but bad things will happen and good things will happen to all of us and that is just how this place works. Treat both with the same Grace. Both failure and success can be traps. Keep your perspective and be true to you.
What ruins us is when we can’t look at it for what it is and have faith that if we hold our heads up and take our steps day by day to get back on our feet – we will. Or at the very least an ah-ha moment washes over us and realizes that sometimes all we need to feel good again is to have faith in ourselves and maybe just a little change in perspective. It’s what I try to do. I guess it is what I’m suggesting anyone feeling left outside of the world tries to do. If any of this hits home for you, I'm suggesting it is what you try to do.