So often I hear myself and others say, “It will get easier when/after…”. I am beginning to realize that we are wrong. Life doesn’t get easier or harder. It gets different. One child isn’t easier or harder than another. They are different. Marriages aren’t easier or harder. They are different. The true difference is perspective. How willing are we to recognize and work with the resources we are given? Can we appreciate the blessings that exist in every situation? Can we joyfully adjust to new circumstances? This sounds lofty, but it really seems to be that simple to me recently.
For instance, my son recently started to walk. Some people say that this will make things easier because I won’t have to carry him. Others say that this will make life harder because now he is mobile. Personally, I don’t think either is fully correct or wrong. It isn’t better or worse, it’s just different. We will all have to adjust. Furthermore, I am watching him learn and it isn’t easy. Every step is a struggle, and he has to use every part of his body and mind to propel himself forward. If he loses concentration his oversized head gains too much momentum and knocks him over because he doesn’t yet have great balance. He never gives up. He keeps his eye on where he wants to go. He wills himself to move. When he accomplishes his goal, he applauds himself and gives me a gummy grin. He doesn’t dwell on how hard it is, or how many times he falls down. He just keeps trying. Wow. Easier? Harder? Nope, just different. Imagine if HE gave up because it was hard. Sound silly? What are you putting off or have you given up on that you probably could have done with the right determination?
We all get jealous of others sometimes. It’s human nature. We see their way and say, “Wow. He/She has it together. How lucky is she/he?!” I’m not sure that this is true anymore. I think they just have it different that me. They may have their external identity seriously put together but be a hot mess on the inside. They may have their house completely organized but have an infertility issue. People put their best foot forward. They don’t lead with their limp. So here’s what I suggest: Recognize that everyone is fighting a challenge in life. Everyone is working through something. There should never be a time in anyone’s life that they aren’t doing this. If you’re not working on something or toward something, then you aren’t growing and changing. I hope to never have this “privilege” that is described in our culture. To live without challenges. I’d be bored and not living to my potential. Lets just recognize this fact of life, and that this too shall pass. It will be replaced by something else… We can focus and get delayed by the negatives or we can choose to celebrate the positive things that are in our path. Its a choice, but has serious consequences.
It is true that there are some phases (potty training/teething/not sleeping through the night) that we would rather not remain longer than absolutely necessary. Of course there are! It is the harder times that pave the way for the appreciation of the easier ones. Everyone wants to take the towel and throw it in every once in a while, rather than wipe the sweat off their brow and dig in to their issues. Denial is more than a river in Egypt, it’s for sure a place where I like to hide every once in a while. It’s one of those tricks to avoid reality until you are prepared to accept it and move on. Once you’re used to THIS phase, life is going to up the stakes, and you’re going to be faced with a choice: Fight or Flight. Smile or Denial. Depreciate or Appreciate. It’s interesting in that way.
I’m not saying life is easy, and I’m not saying to “suck it up”. Even though others have issues more serious than yours, don’t de-value your own. If it’s an issue, it is. The question is whether you’re going to deal with it, or if you’re going to complain about it and do nothing. I think the most inspirational amongst us face very difficult situations, rise to the challenge, and overcome. I know for myself that my proudest achievements have come in the wake of some of my greatest struggles. How about you? The best teachers I ever had in my life were ball-busters who at the same time gave you the resources I needed to succeed, and gave me the choice to succeed or fail. Those were the ones that I learned from the most, and those are the lessons that I carry with me everyday. Experiences have been the same for me. The hardest, darkest, most impossible seeming situations have given way to a rebirth of life, opportunity, and happiness. Sometimes it takes hard work, sometimes it takes a change of perspective or acceptance, and sometimes it takes walking away and moving on in life to get there… But it does get better. Just Sayin’.
So stop saying, “when things slow down”, “when I get back to…”, “when life gets easier”… I don’t like those much anymore. How about we try, “when life gets different?” Because really, when does life ever slow down? When does it get easier? “Give me a break” still works because lets all face it, sometimes we just need a vacation or a time-out to get our brains in order to move along… To gain that perspective. But in life, I don’t know that it gets easier. I think it gets different. I think WE get different. We get better. We fight. We pray. We win. I’m glad life gets different, and keeps challenging me at each phase. It lets me learn and grow. It lets me contribute more to society. Otherwise, I’m just stuck in one spot. No thanks.