Things Fall Apart

Confession time: I have not made living wide a priority. Not just the blog, though I’m sure y’all can tell by the lack of posts, but actually living wide in my day-to-day life. The reason… things fall apart. The rub of things falling apart is that it is in those moments that I should be leaning harder into the concept of living wide. I should invite change into my situation; I shouldn’t cocoon in and make myself really small just to weather the hard knocks. I shouldn’t be self-preserving and simply exist, I should be finding a way to rip open the horizon and charge toward it. But, I haven’t.

Let me explain. Right now, my life is hard. It’s hard to get up in the morning. It’s hard to focus. It’s hard to keep going. It’s hard to remember that things will work out. It’s hard to see the glass as half full. It’s hard to fail. It’s hard to not see everything as so hard.

Now, before you say, “You think your life is hard? Let me give you some perspective on what is really hard,” trust me when I say, I recognize that to 99% of the world, my problems are trivial; first world ramblings full of petty concerns. And they’d absolutely be right. There are people in my own backyard and around the world that have it far worse than I. But, a wise person once said to me, DO NOT diminish your feelings. Your feelings are your feelings. Allow yourself to feel them, and don’t talk yourself out of how you feel simply because there’s someone out there that is worse off than you.

In walking through these fallen days, I knew there had to be a lesson somewhere. It was all I had to cling to at times, how could this help me live wide? That’s when I realized, I already was. In watching an interview with Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild,” which I have yet to read, she talked about how not all experiences in life are good or easy, but they will teach you something. And more than that, they’ll help shape you into the person you’re meant to be for whatever life has next for you.

Not that I in any way compare myself to Moses, but it is true that sometimes you have to wander. Sometimes, you know there is a promise land, but right now, you’re not deserving of it. And sometimes, you have to keep wandering knowing that your destination is purely guided by faith; faith that wavers, faith that questions, and faith, that no matter what, will always be there.

So, even though things fell apart, are hard and have left me to wander, if I can, at the very least, draw strength from the fact that there is a lesson in every situation, and what it has to teach me has the potential to urge me on toward living wide, well then, at least I’ve got that.

Youthful Thoughts

 In my most recent post, Aha!, you’ll remember, my 22-year-old self woke-up from a very long nap. Given the vibrant, driven young lady I was more than a decade ago, I wondered, what would she say to me now? Following is one side of an imagined conversation with this newly graduated woman who was once/still is me.

Dear 33-year-old Me,

First, thanks for finally waking me up. Not that I don’t appreciate the Rip VanWinkle-style snooze after 17 straight years of school, but it’s good to be back. So, what’s life like in… 2012? Gosh, that’s so weird to say! Are you an editor at some fancy magazine? Are you married with kids? Gotta admit, I’m kinda curious.

Wow, okay, advice for the future. Before I hit the hay, I remember fielding a lot of questions about what I was going to do, where I was going to go. Truthfully, I have, or had, no idea how to answer them. All I ever really wanted to do was write… well, and travel… and fall madly in love. But I digress.

Because you’re, well, me 11 years in the future, I’m going to shoot it to you straight. No frills, no fuss, no sugar coating. So, here goes.

Travel light – I love the fact that a majority of my possessions fit into the back of my Honda hatchback. There’s something to be said for not having a lot of baggage. So if you’re feeling at all weighed down, cast something off and make sure you only have what you need.

Travel – And for that matter, travel. We were bitten by the bug early, don’t ever let the excitement of being someplace new fade away. Whether you have the money or not, go!

Move towns/cities/states – Are you seeing a theme? Don’t stick. If you stick, you’re stuck. Changing your scene changes your whole attitude. It keeps you from getting set in your ways.

Laugh until you snort – If you’re laughing, laughing hard, then the trying stuff doesn’t seem all that bad. Find a way to laugh so uncontrollably that you actually embarrass yourself.

You’re strong and strong-willed, that’s a very good thing – There’s a reason your friends lean on you when times get tough. It may not look like it, but inside, you’re made of granite and you have a will of steel. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

When you don’t know how to say it for yourself, let someone else – You’re a natural-born student. You’re curious and love learning from those who’ve gone before you. If you ever find yourself speechless, let someone else who has lived it, articulated it and say it for you.

Stuff isn’t important, people are – Remember where to invest your time and resources. Friendships can last forever, clothes/jewelry/things won’t.

Honor a good story, no matter how it’s told – Everyone’s got their opinions about format, word choice, tense, you name it. But if it’s a good story, honor it, no matter how the author deems to present it.

Go with your gut – You know your gut has never steered you wrong. That little twinge or prickle that tells you something’s not right or take a leap, listen to it. Regardless of the outcome, it will be an adventure.

Change is a good thing – Many fear change. They don’t want to step out of their comfort zone, but that’s never been you. Change has been a part of your life since you can remember. Stepping out in faith is part of who you are. Rest assured that it will all work out in the end.

And remember, you’ve got this. If you don’t know what to do, you’ll figure it out. You’re resourceful, you always have been. Add stubborn to that and you’ve got a lethal combination.