I’m learning that the details in my life don’t matter much.
They do. They matter. But not as much as I thought.
I found a blog entry from 4 years ago where I unleashed the stressful happenings of my life in one run-on sentence of a paragraph. It was verbal vomit of worry, worry that I carried around like a full body suit, that weighed on me and distracted me from just about everything. Worry that occasionally just shut me down. I expected, as I read over it, to relive those feelings of overwhelm, vindication, and release.
Instead, it fell flat. I found myself thinking “That was it?”
This was a time before Anne, before pregnancy. To be fair we were talking about starting a family at the time. The terror and excitement of becoming a Mom (or rather the fear of childbirth, inviting a stranger into our family, failing at motherhood, etc) would have been enough to take me down alone. But still. I expected this entry to be about the time our cars broke down almost simultaneously or when newborn Anne wasn’t sleeping because of GERD.
Instead it was a time that I would consider rather peaceful.
I realize retrospect is an unfair view, but in this moment I saw my past riddled with stress, regardless of the details. I felt similarly stressed working three days a week, then six, then Anne was born, etc.
Oh yes. I can find stress, even a lot of stress, in the peaceful times of life.
I think some part of my subconscious believed that happiness was meant to be bump free. That hard times were meant to be endured until the good ones came back around again. I just didn’t realize that I would spend 80% of my time just waiting.
So I ask: If I can find stress in the peaceful times, can I not find peace in the stressful times? Are happiness, pain, worry, and joy really that exclusive of one other? Why can’t I be complete, peaceful, and content at all times of my life even if I am grieving or scared?
People sometimes use this argument as a weapon. If you were more ____ you wouldn’t be so unhappy. We categorize ourselves as ungrateful to try to guilt ourselves or others into happiness.
I promise this doesn’t work. Seeing life in all of it’s capacity is about seeing it all; the good, the bad, and the beautiful in one picture. Crap is far more distracting than the beauty but, I promise, seeing only good and ignoring the bad isn’t a very smart way to live either. That’s a great way to have the hard stuff sneak up and ninja attack you. Or make you completely unable to empathize with others. Or both.
So here is my goal. When I find myself gripping my steering wheel a little too tight or coming up with endless lists in my head: chill out. I promise not to badger or bully myself. I promise to just chill out and enjoy my life right now. Waiting is overrated. There is so much awesome to experience!