I have been thinking a lot lately, it seems, about what exactly keeps us upright through this life (There are a lot of people on the streets of my daily world who have laid down, and are not getting back up). It takes a huge amount of will to remain upright, to continue forward, and to be intentional about what we let into our lives. The secret that very few people let us in on is the fact that if your wisdom and adaptability do not keep pace with the increasingly complex challenges of living, then there is more than enough impetus, just in daily living, to lay it all down. It's hard.
I become increasingly aware that our "problems" keep pace with our phase of life--I would kill for my own 20-something problems again. Adventures are hard; they seem glamorous, and maybe they are in the long run, regardless they are all there is--a series of adventures, even the most mundane, are what make up the patterns of life. But, I'm noticing, that my energy ebbs and flows for adventure. I feel like I capture it for a while, but then the energy is tempered by some sort of desire for stasis, for comfort, for consistency that simply isn't available. And then there's the fact that all of life seems glamorous if we view it from a distance and in sound bites. And then people develop the "grass is greener" syndrome when all they see are soundbites from others' lives.
What is becoming increasingly clear to me is that life is lonely; no matter what the circumstances of anyone's life, it will feel lonely at times. Life is a series of really difficult moves. These are even more difficult when we don't have stores of energy saved up to deal with them. I have to be very present to not lose what is truly dear in the midst of all. I've been working through a tension of late regarding acknowledging all of the beauty, and how much I have, but also acknowledge that there is more that I want in my life.
I want to be that person who is totally serene and content in any given situation, and with any life circumstance. Anyone who knows me well knows I have not reached this space yet. I'm certainly more patient than I used to be, but I also acknowledge that this, in itself, is a practice. Gratitude is a practice. Setting intentions is a practice. The most recurrent reminder of late for me? There is no greener, but there is also no reason to not want "more," whatever your particular "more" is. There is a both/ and kind of thing going on here. I am happy in me. I am happy on a very core level. Does this mean that I can't mourn the fact that I won't have children of my own? Does this mean I don't want to one day have a successful partnership with someone who actually gets me? No. It means that on occasion, I break down in tears when I see a pregnant woman, and sometimes I have stroller envy. I don't want to apologize for this mourning, and I don't want to dwell on it. These aren't things you can predict in life that will trip you up. I moved through my twenties and most of my thirties absolutely oblivious to a biological clock. There are some things you learn in retrospect. And that's okay.
My biggest conundrum of late has been rectifying my belief system about what it means to be "strong" and what it means to be "happy" with what it means to be these things, but also to say, "this isn't enough" in a long-term sort of plan. Is it okay to say that, yes, my life is quite lovely: I have only first-world problems, and even those are pretty minimal, but to also say I want more. "Happy" and "strong" only exist in the moment. They can't be permanent states of being or they would cease to be real or fulfilling (maybe I should put "real" in quotes too.) And there's more of the work. Forward momentum while also acknowledging the good stuff: a quandary. Last week's yoga practice centered around the idea that we carve a path through, and that this path is our choice--it can be a rut or a groove.
Complexity in life is underscored when there are moments of absolute bliss contrasted by moments of absolute sorrow. And what I'm realizing more and more is that these states of being are not only complementary, they are necessary.
This is one of those posts that I'm going to post even though I liked it a lot better when it was in my head, in sound bites.
From my favorite book of late, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making: "My dear, labyrinths ensnare and entangle; they draw one inexorably inward...All of the underworlds are labyrinths, in the end. Perhaps all the sunlit lands too. A labyrinth, when it is big enough, is just the world." Read it. The book is utterly fabulous.