I used to think that I was the most flexible person in the world.
I’d joke to others that I could roll with the punches and adapt super fast and that change was fantastic.
I think I lied.
Like totally one hundred percent completely lied.
As life has moved forward, and in the last three years at a pace that rivals the now grounded Concorde Jet, I’ve found myself at some times gasping and simply trying to come up for air. Yes, air. Because it feels like I’m running a life long marathon at a 50 meter sprint pace and I’m being told I’m not fast enough. Or that I need to be stronger. Or that I need to adapt to change but, holy moly, sometimes the change is thrown right in my face and I’m spent running in a terrain that I thought was going to be a bit smoother but just got a whole crazy bit more complicated.
And I freeze up.
Even though I’m supposed to be running full speed. And then balls are dropped and I’m left feeling bad about that and then sometimes I just want to yell, while running, whoa whoa whoa where do I fit in this story of life that I thought was mine? Because this is so not what I signed up for when I opted for that leisurely bow-tied life years ago.
I mean, really, who opts for years that feel out of control? I think if I saw that on the docket I would have been too afraid to even look at it for fear that I would fall or give up or quit or end up defeated.
The out of control feeling is scary.
Not knowing how to get through today or tomorrow or the next week is scary too.
But here’s what I’ve learned.
And this is what I want to tell you too, my fellow marathon runner running at full speed.
What the landscape looks like under our feet doesn’t need to determine our happiness.
Because truth be told we’re all going to be dealt cards that we absolutely do not want. I can think of several in my hand right now that I’d be willing to trade quite quickly. But those cards, those maps, those futures, those hard things – first, I think we need to acknowledge that sometimes it just hurts or is not fair or makes us mad. And that’s not bad. Being real with our emotions is way healthier than stuffing it all behind layers of I’m fine and I don’t care, because you know what? I’m fine, to me, is a cry for help but is cloaked. And second, that even though our landscape isn’t our dream it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter and can be redeemed and become beautiful.
I’ve found myself quite bitter the last weeks – angry at the world, in a way – and muttering this woe is me why don’t I matter in this trajectory of life changes? kind of cry which turned into a whine which turned into bitterness. I forgot the power of the butterfly effect. That one change effects my life and my kids lives and everyone’s lives. And change, while sometimes it feels so greedy or difficult or scary, doesn’t need to define me or my tomorrow.
Because honestly, time will race by, whether I like it or not.
That’s such a hard truth, but I think we need to hear it. Especially when we’re in the midst of a life that feels very much out of control. And sometimes it might not even be crazy gigantic things but that the daily routine is overtaking and the two year old is driving us nuts and we don’t ever get a break.
We crave control, in a way.
But life, sweet life with it’s valleys and peaks and crescendos and diminuendos simply cannot be controlled.
It’s in the absence of solidity where the greatest joys can be found.
So, if you’re like me running faster than is comfortable and wondering when just when you might get a break or a breather or even a glass of water – let me tell you first – you are not alone. As a writer I’ve come to realize that there are many many many of us stuck in this place of running full speed in a life that feels out of control.
But, I have learned and observed truth.
And that is there will come a day where we sit down and we just breathe.
Probably not today or tomorrow or the next day – So I’ve come to realize that maybe just maybe instead of grasping to make sure all the ducks are in a row and t’s crossed and i’s dotted that in this moment I do a good job.
Yes, a good job. Not perfect, not unbelievable, but that I show up.
I’m not lying when I tell you how much it matters that you keep running in your life. I know you’re tired. I know sometimes that pavement under your feet isn’t fair. I know that sometimes you just want a break. I know that sometimes you’d like to feel like you’re loved and matter. I know that sometimes it feels like you are just thrown around at the whims of others. I know that sometimes your heart is tired. I know sometimes the tears tumble because this isn’t the dream.
But I also know how strong you are in this.
I know, we’re tired of being strong too.
But I see your strength.
It takes much to keep putting those feet in front of each other and to keep fighting.
You’re a fighter. A believer in the good. One who loves. One who gives.
One who knows that tomorrow could be better than today.
And that’s why we run.
That’s why we move forward, sometimes with tears in our eyes. Because we believe in the power of tomorrow and the power of us in today. The power to know that all of our moments where we stumble and fall and skin our knees don’t matter as much as the fact that we stood up again and started running.
I think you’re amazing.
The out of control life doesn’t define you.
In the words of the sign in my kitchen – take pride in how far you have come and faith in how far you will go.
Carry on fellow runner, carry on.