Life is so funny. Not “ha ha” funny (although, sometimes, indubitably it is – gutting you in that sweet, sweet, comedic way). Life is more like “what the actual HELL is happening in the world?” funny. More like “where did I begin to believe that I have any control whatsoever?” funny. I mean, do the bumps in the road ever stop coming?
Not to spoil the ending, but they don’t. They dot the road ahead. They do. But that’s not a bad thing, in my humble opinion. Wouldn’t it be so boring to know everything was just smooth sailing from here on out? No jarring mishaps or unexpected jostles to keep things interesting? Just plain, flat freeway. The kind that lulls you gently into a doze. We’re not meant to live unconsciously. I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to fall asleep at the wheel of my LIFE.
I turned 27 this summer and am beginning to notice the shift into my mid-to-late twenties. Subtle nuances in behavior, interpretation, perspective and interest. I am also noticing a pattern of things going askew “just when everything was under control.” Sound familiar?
At first I thought it was a coincidence that things would go “wrong” all at once. I’d find reasons, breathe it out, relax once everything was handled and settled back into normalcy. But, as the years pass, I’m starting to see, and understand, that this is just life. To a degree. Ideally things aren’t constantly in chaotic motion, but for the most part, incessant change (read: GROWTH) is the very nature of life itself. The essence of being alive, on a cellular and spiritual level, is that “things” are always in flux. Each moment our cellular makeup is microscopically evolving; each lap around the sun our spiritual matrix is growing richer.
I found myself, just this week, chewing on this paradox. Mercury isn’t retrograde. It’s a New Moon, not a Full Moon. Things have only been “settled down” for a couple weeks, so it certainly isn’t time yet for the universe to topple the snow globe of my life and shake it all up again. What gives?
Then I realized: ADULTHOOD. Adulthood is what gives, sister.
This is life. This is being grown up. This is being a functioning member of society. Your car’s gas tank will need replacing the same week your internet goes out, and the week before you receive an eviction notice. Money will vanish into thin air and the crummy, dramatic people from your past (who somehow feel compelled to try and haunt you presently) will rear their seriously ugly heads, not caring that you have a million other “things” to deal with. You’ll get in a fight with the person you love most because, hell, they’re the only one in the world you are so shatteringly vulnerable with that you can unleash the vulgar underbelly of your loving Self upon them, knowing they will still forgive you; still hold you in your suffering. This will all happen within the same 168 hours because life does not operate on a schedule.
I’ll be darned if there’s not incessantly something to fix, send back, pay for, drop off, pick up, buy, sell, settle or rectify. I used to think these things popped up neatly – one at a time, as if patiently waiting their turn – to be handled, with help, in a timely fashion. Now, I’m realizing, there’s no authoritative gatekeeper checking boarding passes, preventing them from tumbling in all together, ass over teakettle, ruining an otherwise perfectly organized and solidly structured week.
But then, in the midst of my situation(s), I’m struck down with the most powerful sense of gratitude. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m well. The ones I love most and cannot live without are, too. I have all my fingers and toes. I have a job (to pay for all this shit that’s hit the fan). I have a car (even though it’s threatening to poison me with noxious fumes). I have another car to drive while mine’s being repaired. I have someone to repair it. I have a house to live in (even though it’s only for another couple of weeks). I have a bed to sleep in (and I’ll sleep in it in my next house, too). I have rights and opportunities, I have an education and dreams, I have all the things that so many human beings would year for…and I’m complaining about the baggage that comes with it? SERIOUSLY?
I have been blessed and guided these 27 years to sit here now and have this revelation. So have you, to sit there and be reading this, too. Despite everything that has threatened our wellbeing, everything that has brought us to our knees, everything that has irked the living hell out of us…we are here. We are stronger. We are fiercely alive.
All this “stuff”, all of these responsibilities and aspects of our lives that layer on the complicatedness like fragile layers of icing on a triple-tiered cake…stem from abundance. They stem from the simple nature of having something, having enough, being “okay.” They are birthed from the most organic space of a life well-lived. Making change in the world, showing up to do a job, coming home to build a life; making an effort, doing your best, showing…the…fuck…UP. And, in that moment, I realize: It’s a god-forsaken BLESSING to bitch and moan.
I imagine people who have nothing find less to b & m about. Don’t you? Such simple matters of survival take up that space; a safe place to sleep, a warm meal to eat, preventing illness and injury, keeping life going, just one day at a time.
But with abundance, comes complaint. Now, that’s about as “funny” as life gets.
So, as I house hunt again, for the third time in 5 months, I will just smile. Slowly zoom out, in my mind’s eye, and take a gander at the bigger picture. When has life not ended up “okay”, really? Probably rarely, if ever. Learning to give up on the well-intentioned but poisonous desire to always have a blank slate “to-do” list. Learning to see it not as a success, but as that boring flat stretch of highway we discussed before. Yes, it’s satisfying to remove obstacles from our path, to see that stretch of flat up ahead. But what if, instead of squinting fervently, trying to scout out the bumps in the road to come, we instead turn our eyes to the rearview; admire the flat stretch behind us. We always make it over those bumps, obviously we do, if we’re here to share in this revelation together. I think a smooth rearview bodes more success than a sickeningly predictably flat future journey.
Learning to navigate the bumps and twists, the potholes and detours, are a rite of passage. It’s a gift. So the next time we, all of us, are burdened by the hectic dissonance that life sometimes serves…may we soften, and remember, one must be blessed to bitch and moan.