Not too long ago, I felt bogged down by life. No, that’s not true. I didn’t feel bogged down, I was bogged down. Nothing was going right and I felt let down by even the closest people around me. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of life. I couldn’t catch a break to save my life (pun intended).
What is it about, this life? Why is it so difficult, confusing, and at times breathtakingly sad? My head was full of questions and no answers, and my expectations were all failed and discarded. To say that I was lost is an understatement.
Years (yes, years) went by this way. Birthdays came and went, births came and went, and people came in and went out of my life. And I found myself, day in and day out, weighed down by the sheer immensity and heft of this thing called life.
I’m not sure what began to bring back the sunlight. I’m not sure when or how I began to fight back. I can say that at some point, I found myself digging my way out from underneath the huge burden I had put on myself. And I can say that I’ve fought against the storm ever since.
In order to find my way back, I had to completely change the way I looked at life. In order to be able to enjoy it, I had to find a way to see things differently. And that, overhauling one’s outlook on life, is not an easy or necessarily pleasant process. I had to suspend my way of looking at things and people to build a whole new system, piece by piece. In essence, it was like tearing down the foundation of what made me me, in order to construct a new and stronger foundation. And much like the beautiful cathedrals of Europe, which took centuries to be built, my work will be continuous and will most likely last for the rest of my life. So now, when I say I’m a work in progress, I really and truly mean it.
The biggest change for me has been to learn and to embrace the notion that life isn’t a wild animal in need of taming and fitting into a pre-selected cage. I’ve realized that, as far as I’m concerned, life is simply a series of big and small adventures. Some are harrowing and scary, while others are rewarding, comedic, romantic, or inspiring. And some are all those things all at once. I’ve stopped asking why they happen or how come I seem to get more of one kind than the others. As the protagonist of my story, my job is to experience life as it comes, learn as it happens and live ready for another adventure the next day. As the heroine of my life, all I can do is be true to myself, honor my adventures and enjoy as many of them as I possibility can before it’s too late. And now I do.
I find myself, for the most part, looking at each experience as a grand old adventure. And I try to focus on and enjoy each adventure as much as I can. From the mundane to the extraordinary, I catch myself feeling excitement and glee as I go through my days. It’s a little like playing make belief. I get out of a court appearance, frazzled and angsty, and I throw myself a little tea and macaron party at the shop around the corner. I get lost on my way to meet a friend, and I catch myself making mental notes about the new and unfamiliar surroundings, vowing to go back and explore when I have more time. I get stuck in terrible traffic, and I have a blast noticing the people in the surrounding cars doing funny things. I have my umpteenth early morning doctor visit, and I have a little song and dance while waiting for my good-ol’-Texan-boy of a doctor to come in and do the thing he’s been doing for the last two years. I’ve turned off the mental commentary that used to go along with life’s events. I’ve stopped living in a subtitled film. I strive to enjoy the messy, noisy, crazy and nerve-wracking things that come hurling at me each and every day and live each day as adventurously as I can.
Don’t misunderstand. Life can suck sometimes. No one can ever convince me otherwise. You can’t survive war, revolution, displacement, exile, infertility and loss and believe that life is simply what you make of it and that if you only think about puppies and marshmallows, then your life will be filled with puppies and marshmallows forever. Life is hard. Life can suck. Life can get you down. But, I’m now more equipped to handle all that by simply remembering that I exist to enjoy my time here and to live fully and beautifully. So I now live with the knowledge that even the sucky parts of life, like my umpteenth doctor visit, offer me a chance for growth and adventure. I am the heroine of all episodes of my life-the fun, the funny, the sad, and the terrible. Now, I see an adventure in every event of life.
I share this not to pat myself on the back, or score pity points. I share because I’ve learned that nothing I’ve ever felt has ever been novel, and that there are others out there who’re feeling what I have felt before. So, I share in the hopes that perhaps my story could help someone else. I share because I believe that if I can change my life, so can you.
There is an adventure in every event of life…. Believe it!