When I was young, I used revel in riding on a see-saw. The exhilaration going up, as high as it could, was both fearful and invigorating at the same time. Going down was, well, it was a downer until, thud, I hit the ground.
I can akin this experience to my summer of ups and downs… high highs and low lows. It’s been a tumultuous summer, at best.
At one point, it seemed more like the scrambler than a see saw.
My husband reminded me that 13 is an unlucky number; in fact, most tall buildings skip from floor 12 to 14– now, that must mean something. I’m wondering if this is a year that might have been better off skipped.
I don’t think so.
I’ve been reflecting. A lot. And I think it’s the depths that we face that make the heights of our experiences possible to recognize as extraordinary– euphoric, even. Sometimes, when you’re in the moment of something wonderful, it seems surreal, as if it’s happening to someone else. You almost can see outside yourself– like watching a movie. And, in that moment, you can consciously conceive that this moment is unlike any other you’ve lived and will long exist as a memory of fantastical proportions.
Conversely, the pain one feels when facing one of our obstacles is real– like a weight you carry in your heart. It’s heavy and it hurts. All senses heightened, you feel it and smell it and hear it and taste it– all the bitterness bound up like a tight knot that situates into the core of your being. And in IT, the unraveling seems impossible. You search and search for the end of the rope to untie the knot, but all you can feel are its tethers.
Yet, in its most basic of form, bad begets good. Always.
A chronicle of the highs and lows in my world, this summer and the many reasons this summer was necessary to experience:
cheating and plagiarizing=bad; reflecting on what led to such decisions and learning to accept the choices one makes=good. underage drinking party and the citations which ensued=bad; discovering the undercurrent to this careless behavior=good, communicating=good. graduating from college and accepting a job offer=good; accepting a job impulsively without researching it fully=bad; quitting a job before planning what comes next=bad; asserting oneself to pursue the original dream job=good; learning to be true to oneself=good. car accident that could have been life-altering=bad; hitting rock bottom=bad; looking deeply to see the big picture and taking steps to establish priorities and responsibilities=good. vacant space=bad; turning that space into a place where ideas and action thrive=good. withdrawing from the people who are important=bad; discovering who really cares=good. artistic expression=good. feeling like a victim who has no control=bad; taking one step at a time= good; asking for help=good; always communicating=good; moving in a positive direction=good; focusing on gratitude=good. life lessons=good.
In experiencing the difficulties of our lives, we are forced to grow or, at least, change somehow. The lessons we learn are necessary for moving forward– better informed, wiser, more compassionate, less judgmental, more understanding. The journey isn’t about living the high highs and low lows– they come and go (bad begets good). It’s somewhere in the middle where we find the balance we derived from the sum of our experiences.
What I’ve learned is that I don’t view life in extremes; I’m much more comfortable somewhere in the middle. But in recognizing the extremes, in living and learning through them, the high highs and the low lows, makes me realize that happiness and peace is finding the balance that exists somewhere in the middle.
To commemorate the challenges I’ve overcome this summer, I got a tattoo– something that’s been ruminating in my thoughts for a long time, now. Like a see saw, I’d think YES, Definitely, but then I’d go to the other extreme and fear the pain or not know what to get (because it’s permanent– it’s a serious commitment). In the midst of the mayhem, it occurred to me that this is the time to get a tattoo to symbolize triumph through some of the most difficult of times, but it’s also in a place to remind myself to always BELIEVE, because, at the end of the day, believing (in something, in many things actually) is what always gets me through.