It's been too long since I've written. I can't say it's because I haven't been inspired; I have. But, in those moments of inspiration, there were sick kids to take care of, temperatures to take, tests to grade, clothes to fold, dinners to make, errands to run, workouts to complete, meetings to attend, and well . . . life basically. Today, the inspiration to write was overwhelming, in part due to a conversation I had with someone whom I love dearly.
I'm sort of like an emotional magnet - I feel what those around me, whom I care about, feel. If someone I love is sad, it pains me. If someone I love receives good news, I'm giddy. Lately, this person I care about has been having a difficult time, and it's very hard for me. I want to fix it. I want to take away the pain. I want to say just the right words. But, I can't.
What I can do, however, is lend an ear. Listen. Support. Encourage. Because, that's exactly what this person has done for me. You get what you give, and I'm returning the favor. This person is a giver in every sense of the word. The other thing I can do is share. Share what I've learned through my trials and tribulations. It might help; it might not. But, it's worth a try.
Life is not fair. No, it's not. Not at all. Our parents have been telling us this since we were young. "Life isn't fair. Deal with it." Maybe we didn't want to believe it, but now we have no choice - life keeps showing us that fairness is nonexistent . . . over and over and over again.
People are not always kind. No, they're not. Not at all. But that doesn't mean all people are unkind. It doesn't mean all people don't deserve your friendship, your trust, your sympathy, and your forgiveness. Don't let one or two people destroy your faith in humanity. Don't let one person ruin your hope. A favorite quote of mine: One person cannot destroy another person's capacity to love. I believe that with all my heart.
Let go of the people who are unkind. Let go of the people who don't make time for you. Let go of the people who hurt you. Let go of the people who don't treat you well, who don't add anything to your life, who stress you out. Don't waste your precious time on these people. You can't change them. You can't make them see things your way or feel what you feel, so let them go. Cherish the people who make you a better person and enhance your life.
Things don't always go as planned. If you know me well, you see the irony in this. I am a planner by nature. I want to know what to expect, and I want to plan that shit out. Every last detail. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I haven't decided yet) this is life's favorite lesson to teach me. It's clearly still a lesson in progress, and I am learning it day after day after day. Oh, and patience, too. Patience, patience, patience. I should get it tattooed on my forehead. Seriously.
Life is hard. Yep. Sure is. Why can't it be easy? Well, I'm not sure, but my theory is this: If life were easy, we wouldn't learn. And, if we don't learn, we don't grow. And if we don't grow, we remain stagnant, we lose our way, we lose sight of our goals and our values, and we forget what really matters in life (or what should really matter). Thus, life is hard so we can learn and grow and be reminded of who we are and what we value.
I've learned a lot of things the hard way - what other way is there really to learn, right? One thing that life is kind enough to continually remind me of is kind of cliche but it's true: Life is too short. Life has brought me this important lesson through loss, through death, and through various wasted opportunities. Life is too short. So, when you're sad, when you're angry, when you've been betrayed, when you've suffered a loss, when you've been let down, and when you're afraid, ask yourself, "What am I missing out on while I'm sitting here immersed in my pain/sadness/anger/disappointment/fear?" For me, it's always my boys. What am I missing out on in their lives when these terrible emotions seem to overwhelm me? And, that always brings me back; it always helps me deal with those difficult feelings.
Smile. Laugh. This lesson I actually like. No matter how bad my day, no matter what life has dished up for me, no matter what challenge is thrown my way, if I can find a way to smile, I win. Smile through the tears. Smile through the pain. Smile through the anger. Smile when you're afraid. Because if you can do that, you have no choice but to admit that life isn't quite as bad as it might seem in that exact moment. And, laugh. Laugh until it hurts. Laugh when you think you might cry. Laugh when you'd normally be angry. Laugh when you realize how little control you really have and how crazy and absurd and unfair and just plain hard life is. Laugh so hard that you wake up the next morning and think, "I don't remember doing crunches last night . . ." Laugh that hard. Remember always that life . . . is a beautiful struggle.
Everything is a lesson. You grow, you become better, when you search for what you can take away from everything that happens and every person you encounter. What are you supposed to learn? How can this help you become the person you want to be? Embrace the hard times (not enjoy, just embrace) and use them as an opportunity to find a way to live the life you really want to be living.
"We can make the best of it. We can make the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you . . . I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
To the person who inspired this: I love you with all my heart.