Sunday, November 21, 2010

You're Going To Be Okay

After a year or so of upheaval, heartbreak and general suckiness, I would have thought I'd be in a sad and dark place right now. The past couple of years have included losing our house as a result of the general horribleness of the economy, moving into a house owned by a friend who sold it unexpectedly, prompting us to move twice in 18 months. I've seen the disintegration of two long time friendships and the destruction of a precious family relationship. I've had to pull my youngest son out of his school and put him in a new one because of relentless bullying, bad enough that he spent over a year in therapy. I went through a lengthy bout of depression that nearly crippled me. All this said, I'm feeling pretty good right now.

All of this trauma and heartache have taught me a few things that I'd like to share.
  • The bad things are eventually balanced by good things and you're going to be okay.
We lost our home, twice, but have ended up in the best possible house for us through creative thinking and mutual need. I found a house in my town (right around the corner from the last one we lived in) that had been for sale for almost two years. The owner took a job in another state and was getting no nibbles due to the horrid real estate market. With a defaulted loan on our record, we are out of luck, credit wise, for a while. They agreed to rent to us, knocking our rent payments off the principal if we choose to buy. Everybody wins. How often do you get to test drive a house?

  • Losing a relationship makes you appreciate those that remain, you're going to be okay.
Having a friend dump you or a family member cut you off is painful and heartbreaking, but I have looked closely at my surviving relationships and have truly come to savor and cherish them. I will protect and nurture them, closely guard them and make damn sure the people I love know I appreciate them. It's hard to lose someone and getting them back in your life may or may not be a good thing. However, I am also realizing that sometimes there are relationships that may be best left by the side of the road.

  • If you can laugh, and laugh hard, you're going to be okay.
The inspiration for this post came on a long and tiring day, feeling rather low and wrung out by things when something small and silly made me burst out laughing. The long, hard, run out of breath until you can't stop laughing kind of laugh. I love that kind of laughter, the kind that bubbles back to the surface once you've regained your composure. If you can laugh like that, things aren't as bad as you think they are.

  • If you can feel even a small sense of satisfaction, you're going to be okay.
I quit smoking in May, I've had one puff in 6 months and I take enormous satisfaction in that accomplishment. I also rewarded myself with a tattoo on my shoulder that, at first, was just a cool looking design the one-eyed tattoo guy and I came up with and now really represents this feeling to me. I can look at this and feel like I've done something right lately.

  • If you can take ownership of your life, good or bad, you're going to be okay.
I have one parenting goal, if I can accomplish this, I will have done my job right. I simply want my kids to own their lives, their actions and their choices. Good or bad, own it. I had one of those moments a year or so ago when I received an angry call from my youngest son's teacher. He demanded to know if, as according to my son, I thought he was irresponsible. I had a moment of opting to make Charlie into a liar or owning the statement that, indeed, I had made. I owned it and said that yes, I did think he was irresponsible. He was completely nonplussed and hasn't spoken to me directly since, but I felt pretty damn good because I took it on and didn't hide from my actions. I have come into my own over the past couple of years and I feel strong, powerful and in control even when it has seemed like the gods were taking a huge dump over my head.

  • If you break out of what has always been, you're going to be okay.
I spent a number of years allowing others to dictate who I am and how I perceive myself. I finally hit the reset button and stopped letting others decide how I saw myself. My only regret now is that I waited until my fourth decade to come into myself.

  • If you can find even a moment of joy in your day, you're going to be okay.
I don't care if it comes from finding a Tootsie Roll in your pocket, the last bloom in the garden before the snow flies or a stupid video on You Tube, there is something in every single day that's going to bring you that moment. Grab it, drink it in and let it carry you for a while.