After a great luncheon workshop the other day, I got the chance to take a break and hang out with some women at a local beach bar for the afternoon. That was really a treat as usually I spend my days with my 2 dogs and as I work from home, don’t see too many people, especially other women. I really relish the opportunity to just let my hair down, which is a bit of a trick since my hair is very short, and relax and remember what it’s like to just “be” female.
And it was a great afternoon. I did have this one little moment however… I really hate it when those little “moments” have to happen. They always seem to have to creep in, just when you’re having the perfect time. I’m lucky though that at this point I know how to handle such “moments” and can sail through them pretty well, kind of put them aside in a little holding pattern to be sorted through at a later time if necessary.
So anyway, what happened was that I was chatting with a couple of women about some events that had taken place in the last year or so and they were going back and forth about who was where when these different events occurred. I might have chimed in once or twice. One woman was talking about how she was on some exotic island somewhere both times this annual event took place and then this last time something happened, she was on a road trip somewhere else…
The gist of all of this is that as I’m looking at her and how successful she obviously is, the success that has allowed her and her husband to go on all of these trips, my thoughts start wandering into that forbidden territory of “if only”. That’s “the moment” – the one that I sat there saying to myself, “oh no, this is not good. I don’t want to go down this road”
But…there it was. “If only” that hadn’t happened and that hadn’t happened and that… I would be where she is today. Or at least I wouldn’t be where I am. I wouldn’t have had to reinvent myself and start over (and over). I wouldn’t have to struggle with the constant reminders that life is unfair and painful and hard work. I wouldn’t have cried enough tears to fill an ocean and wonder what I did to deserve this. I would still have my career and my health would be better and we’d have some money in the bank.
Now I know this is all irrational thinking. There are never any promises in this life. When “the moment” passes and I get back to it later, I am able to remember all of the truth of this. Would I rather some of these things had not happened- obviously. But they did. Why? Who knows.
I never really thought about what to expect from life. I know this sounds odd to say, but it was quite shocking to me to experience the deaths that I did, particularly losing my dad when I young, and having a baby die- that still feels like something from a dream.
As I have wound my way down this path, I find more and more that it really is about living in “this moment”. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. Some days the past will creep in and hurt, most days we worry about what’s going to happen next. The best thing is to try really hard to just think about right now and this day and what I am doing to make this one good.
I know that I am not protected from more pain happening to me and that worrying about it will not change that. I also know that it has a lot to do with me and how I look at things. And believe me, I know that some days things can look pretty crappy and that’s ok. But another lesson I have learned on this road is that when the crappy day comes, just like “the moment” or the “if only”, I have to just let it happen. It will pass. It will work itself through, get itself out and I will survive it. Whatever is in me that has brought me this far will bubble up again and push me forward again as it has all along. Trust me, it has been a nightmare at times, but I am here and I have survived and I am determined now that I will thrive.
You can too. I swear.