As a child you look at adults as a completed human. Adulthood is a goal that you are working towards. In school they keep telling you that you are preparing for the “real world”. It appeared that adults knew what they were doing and they had a plan that they followed without doubts or questions. What I learned as I became an adult was that nothing could be further from the truth. Life is a struggle, an ever-changing series of events that we learn to handle the best we can. While it appears that others may not face the same struggles that we do, that is an illusion. The problem is that we are taught the wrong things. We are taught that there is a correct path and an incorrect path to follow. The correct path allows us to live a comfortable life without worries, enough money to have the things we desire. In order to live this correct life in my family receiving the proper education was part of the plan. The more education you receive the better your life will be.
When I was a child we played a game called, “Life” and in the beginning of the game you chose to either go to college or not go to college. Even though the college route was longer the game was rigged to give you an advantage if you chose that direction. The reality is that there is no guaranteed course that you can take in life. The only real guarantee is that life is continuous change. The only thing that you can control is how you handle the change and how you view life.
My wake up call came last year. “Wake up Neo”..... After spending a lifetime trying to do everything correctly I could no longer live the way that I had been living. My mind and body had reached their limit. I had done everything I was supposed to do, so why was this happening? It was happening because I hadn’t woken up yet. I still bought into the illusion, that right hand turn in the game of “Life” and everything would be fine. Well there is no right hand turn and it took me until I was 53 to figure it out. Now that I have figured the first part out I’m looking to balance my life and find happiness where I am.
Life is still a struggle and can really suck at times bringing much sorrow, the loss of a friend to cancer, a beloved's own struggles and dammit my dog died, the dog who I cried on when things were really bad.
But along with these sorrows came joys too. College classes that I loved with professors that were amazing, and new adventures in creating and teaching.
So a year after my break down where do I find myself? I find myself despite life’s struggle enjoying my life and taking the struggles as they come as part of the journey. I have learned a lot about the way that I handle struggle. I more easily see what is driving the behavior of other people, helping me to be more understanding. I concentrate on how much I love the feel of climbing into a warm bed next to my husband and feeling the dog curled up behind my knees. When I walk out to get in the car on my way to work I notice the feel of the day and the sounds of the birds. As I’m walking in to work or class I take time to do a walking meditation to prepare for the day. Catching myself devouring my food I stop and take a conscious bite and notice the feel and taste of the food. I focus on conversations and make sure that I’m present and listening. My life hasn’t changed but I have. I live in the same house with the same people and the same bills but I feel more connected.
How lovely is that?