Over the last week, this blog has been forming in my head, trying to figure out the best way to put these words together. The theme of my life for the last week with each passing day has become more and more evident. I have these two thoughts that seem like they are battling each other but when I sit down to think about it, I mean really dive deep into them, they are the same thing. The most constant thing about this life is that it always changes, people and places and things. Nothing stays the same because it can't. I watch these young kids stand up for change, to make this world better, to make the world safer for the generations to come. I see the pride in the adults eyes as we sit and watch our children stand. Why? Because things have to change. I look at my own life and I know that change is happening all around me. What was is no longer and what will be? Well, what will be starts with me and you and him and her. It has to stem from all of us. We all have to some sort of pride in what we're doing. Because if we don't? Then what is broken will never get put back together. I can't make you change. You can't make me shift. But we can find some sort of middle ground and find a solution together. It's people. It is you and me and him and her. And all of us are going to change and break and rise and fall and do it all over again. We may never be what we were but we can be better than what we are.
I have worked at this job for the last five years. I fell in love with this place, with the people, with the vibe the minute I walked through those doors. It was a family, one where everyone cared for each other and helped each other. I was welcomed so quickly and so openly that it instantly made my heart swell. I don't often allow myself to feel so much so swiftly but there was something about the way that everyone worked so well with each other that drew me in. I am not saying that it was perfect but it made me smile. It made all of us smile. We made each other smile. I can't quite pinpoint what made it work so well. It was one of those things where the formula just worked. It worked for years... until it didn't. I can admit it is not what it once was. The mentality seems to be collectively different. And when I sit down and really think about it, I mean really think about it, what it boils down to is respect and compassion. Instead of helping each other, we seem to be belittling the other. Instead of trying to figure out the problem, we just brush it off onto someone else's shoulders. I can sit outside that patio all day and list all the things that aren't working but at what point it is enough? The other day a coworker was upset. The weight of the world sat heavy on her shoulders, feeling like it was all up to her to fix it. Instead of trying to build her back up, to make her feel supported and figure out a positive way to come back from what is broken, this other person just told her that nothing was going to fix it. I realized in those words that what has really changed is the people, not the place. Where once there was this feeling of us together had become this darkness of this "me" mentality. I can sit here and tell you about all the things in my life that don't work right now. I can stew on them and water them and help them grow until I become so overwhelmed that I drown in my own anxiety. I can look at my daughter and tell her that her life won't amount to anything if she doesn't get her shit together. I can look at my husband and tell him that our financials suck and they will just continue to suck. I can sit here and look at myself and tell myself that I am the problem that I am not where I thought I would be at forty years old. I can sit down with my coworker and tell them everything they are doing wrong and give them nothing to make it better... but what does any of that change? Sure, I see the flaws and the weaknesses but that just means what we are doing now is not working anymore. Life changes. People change. The things that swirl around us in this universe change. We have a choice. We sit and pout and sulk that they did. Or we readjust our own trajectory. I can look at this place that I work at and see how it's not the same anymore. I can be sad about it. I can even be angry about it... but really that sadness, that anger is not the point. Sometimes in this life you have to accept that you are not what you were. You have to let go of all those things, good and bad, and find where your feet stand right now. I can't bring back the things, the people, the parts of me that I've lost along the way but I can figure out who I am now while still honoring everything that I used to be. Hey, I'm never going to be 105 pounds again. I'm never going to wake up again and not feel every bone crack when I stand up. I'm never going to be who I was again and all of this fine. Sometimes holding onto what we were holds us back to what we can become.
So, I sat a little bit longer, asking myself these questions about what can I do to readjust? What can I do to help the people around me understand that we just have to change course a bit? I realize that I cannot control your actions or your attitudes or your anything. I understand that I can't make you change any more than you can make me change. So, what can I do to make this life better? I think I've always accepted that if I ever wanted anything done in this world it was up to me to get it done. Blame it on my mother who I watched do everything by herself because she could get it done faster. Blame it on my stubborn need to kiss all the scraped knees better. I have and always will put the pressure on me to make the people around me feel better even if I want to knock them out at the same time. As I was sitting there with my sad friend and listening to the other throw shadow, it became very clear to me that it has to start with people. Respect is something so easy give if you break it down to its foundation. I respect you because you are another human being if nothing else. I show you compassion because I, too, carry so many heavy burdens on my shoulders. If you are having a bad day, I want to make your day easier, not worse. I feel like we throw each other away so easily these days. We go after the weak parts of each other while we blow the strong parts of ourselves out of proportion. So, I sit and I think about what I can do to help this change? What spark can I create that is going to ignite a fire to improve this life? I realize the only thing I can control is me. I can choose to be positive instead of negative. I can choose to find the solutions instead of creating more problems. I can give you respect and love and compassion and honesty. I can choose to live my life in every fashion with my best, even the things that make me want to scratch my eyes out. If I choose to face my life with kindness and empathy, then maybe others will follow suit, understanding that some probably won't. I can accept that I am not who I was and I can have faith that who I become will not forget where I have been.
The truth is we must learn from where we came from to not repeat the same mistakes that we did before. I look at my life now and understand all those wrong turns I took. I can own each and every one and then move forward by letting go. This life is going to change again on me and again I will have to readjust to what that will be. In a way, it's a beautiful thing, this reinvention of one's self. If we stay stagnant, what do we learn? And if we hold onto that stagnation, doesn't that just poison us in the end? I can't parent my teenage daughter the way I did when she was little. Taking away her desert doesn't quite have the same effect. She changed and I changed and our lives changed. We've had to figure out a new way of relating to each other, to speaking to each other, to listening to each other. It's been a hard journey. If I'm being honest, I haven't quite figured it out yet but I'm changing and readjusting and trying new solutions to this equation that life keeps changing. I know things will get better. I have to keep trying. I know things won't be like it was between us like it was when she was little but I can't hold onto that and be a good mother to her now. She will continue to fight me and I will continue to stand my ground but what we have in common is that we love each other. We love each other so much that sometimes we drive the other crazy... but we keep trying to find our best way to honor the other. I sit in this life of mine, trying to figure out how to make it all not feel so dizzy. I think about all pieces of my life that I've lost along the way, all those things that were, all these things that are no longer. I've reached this point in my life where I can let them go. Sometimes moving forward is letting go. Sometimes changing your part in the equation is the solution. And while life will change again, we will, too.