1 existential crisis, 2 important conversations and 3 bottles of wine later…
It just so happens that I have the best girl friends any one could ask for.
I’ve got funny ones, I’ve got creative ones, I’ve got good drinkers, late night talkers, hikers, partiers, entrepreneurs, nappers and shoppers. I’ve got friends who can practically build a house from the bottom, up and friends who can bake the best damn cupcakes you’ll ever have. I’ve got friends who always know when to call and will lift you up with their perfectly placed compliments about your personality and about your butt. I’ve got friends who tell it like it is and some that don’t (both equally important) and friends who make me laugh until I cry (or almost pee my pants). I’ve got friends who are so incredibly loving that it reminds me not to be so hard and some that work so damn hard it reminds me not to be so soft. Some of my friends are also my sisters, and some might as well be.
I am lucky to be surrounded by a tribe of women that I can lean on, call on and love on.
I also, usually, happen to have wine.
So, it was the combination of those two things that shed some light on why the third, the crisis, was happening…
I don’t want to be happy.
There, I said it.
I don’t wanna.
It’s too hard. It’s too complicated. Yes, it sounds a little ridiculous, I know. And if you listen closely it may even sound like I’m playing the worlds smallest violin. But, no, as much as I want to learn how to play the violin (a regular sized one) this is not a plea for pity; I can promise you that.
I truly don’t want to be happy, mostly because It scares me. So instead of taking happy moments and running with them, instead of seeking out happy, I am constantly pushing that to the future; to my “one day.” To the day when I can look at my life and see all the things I’ve wanted to do, done, and all the places I’ve wanted to see, seen. That’s when I thought I could finally be happy.
The crisis started when I went for a walk in a canyon last weekend. The weather was decent, the scenery was incredible and the company was perfect. I ended the night with patio wine and a delicious dinner (cooked for me, I might add) and, hold onto your knickers, I was happy. Genuinely happy. Sunday was perfectly lazy and relaxing, even with Monday looming in the background.
But then it hit.
Monday’s suck; it’s a universal consensus. The weekend is too short and pants and responsibilities are the worst. But, as Monday arrived, it was like the happiness from Saturday morphed into this monster of guilt and longing; it became the herald of unfulfillment.
Why did my happiness hangover create such heavy introspection?
Happiness is tricky for the bereaved, that I do understand. There are always mixed feelings when doing something without someone that has left you; About being happy when they are gone. No matter how many times someone says to you “But they would want you to be happy and live your life,” the only way for us grievers to NOT feel a pang of guilt or sadness in our happiest moments is if we could hear it from them and them alone. The obvious impossibility of that leads to the only conclusion: We will always be sad. and happy. and sad. and excited. and sad. and anxious. and sad. and in love. and sad. and hopeful and sad. See the trend? Missing them is a part of who we are. But I know that. I know that with all the moments in my life that have brought me joy since my baby girl left, and all the moments of joy to come, there will be a darkness in it’s lining. And I will welcome it, because it is all I have left of her.
But this past manic Monday was something else. It was less of a stupid Monday making me wear pants and more of a WHOA don’t you DARE feel content. Don’t you DARE snuggle into this little life. You need to be uncomfortable, you need to be lonely, you need to be anxious, you need to be messed up. You need it, because the life you seek isn’t this. What you want, the deepest, soul satisfying life you want to create is. not. here. (by here, I don’t necessarily mean physically, I mean ‘within this’) So then I got to thinkin… what am I even doing here? What is the point of all of this?
My eyes were open and burning as I sank further and further into a murky pond frantically moving my hands through the thick water searching for the rope that lead to the life I planned out so perfectly, the one I had held so tightly onto.
How did I let it go? How could I have let it go?
Here’s where two of my wonderful friends come in:
One talked me off the ledge, one step at a time.
She told me to find things that will make me feel accomplished in each day. She reminded me that, as much as we love to be planners, (the two of us could plan things all day, every day) we need to focus a little more on being doers. She reminded me that just because the big steps to the big dreams are slow to come to fruition, I shouldn’t feel like I am not still working toward them. And even if I am not, I should still find time to do something that makes me feel like I’ve actually done something.
The second one reminded me to live.
She said that even though this might not be the life you want, it doesn’t mean you can’t live a life. She told me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing things for me, some just for pleasure’s sake, some for mental health’s sake and some for my futures sake. And that, no matter how much I love them, other people’s lives aren’t my life and vice versa. Those lives will overlap because you love the ones you love, you spend time with them and care about them, but at the end of the day, you can’t always put aside what you think you want or need because it might be the wrong puzzle piece in someone else’s masterpiece. It just needs to fit somewhere in yours.
Although their approaches were different, when it came down to it, stripping everything else away, they had the exact same solution: Live.
You can’t make time pass quicker and you can not slow it down. It should not play a role in determining success, happiness, importance or love. Time is a way to measure changes in our life. That’s all. That is the only weight we should give it.
So, if time doesn’t matter, does “one day”?
Does “in the future”?
Does “once I’m rich and famous and living ocean side in a place where the temperature rarely drops below 15 and I wake up every morning and do what I love and love who I’m with”?
None of that matters. Now, don’t get me wrong, plan for the future of your dreams. Think hard on it, picture yourself in that life, on that beach, on top of that mountain and in that penthouse. Make your vision boards and schedules and plans. Soak in what it will feel like when you finally think “I’ve made it”. If nothing else, it lays out the how, the why and gives you the motivation to work for it.
But just because you are planning for a really amazing tomorrow, doesn’t mean you should forget to live a pretty great today too.
So, I didn’t want to be happy, because I thought happy and content went hand in hand. I thought that I had to do the big things in order to feel accomplished and that I had to cross off the bucket list things in order to feel alive.
At the risk of sounding cliché, it is imperative that while we plan for our futures, we live for today. We don’t always have to do the things that change the world. We just need to do the things that fuel our minds, warm our hearts and evoke the purpose of our souls.
Fuel, Warm, Evoke,
grinning from ear to ear…
One thought on “Don’t Forget To Live In This Life, While You Are Waiting For The Other.”
This reminded me of my own little refrain….”Don’t forget to live your life while you are trying to finish living all of his yet”. Or, at other times, when I am happy living my life and doing things that bring me joy (yes, it seems unfathomable – but I find I truly can get to the joy part) I am beset with guilt; “You really should be making that posthumous album of his songs/books of his poetry/posters with his sayings/sculptures with his art stuff/finishing his stories/wearing his clothes/raising money for his causes/ leaving his little toys in geocaches everywhere/reading all his books” and on and on….
But a wise bereavement counselor told me that 25 years after her grandmother died, she finished a quilt that her grandmother never was able to….so I guess there is hope for me yet. And I know there is hope for you too!
Love and hugs,