Because I Said So
"Wisdom I never wanted from lessons I needed to learn."
I’m not sure if I started writing out of inspiration or exasperation. I think, perhaps, it was both. Suffice it to say that life, thus far, has consisted of one unforeseen “circumstance” after another. The word circumstance seems kinder than the word “crisis” which is probably more accurate. I think some people thrive with copious amounts of drama in their lives and as such they seek it, create it or conjure it up consistently. But it’s not my thing. Yet somehow, and for some reason, it has, in large part defined my life, my learning and my journey thus far.
For each and every one of us our life is a story. A unique string of events woven from our experiences, our joys, our frustrations, our learning, our laughter, our hurts and our hope for the future. Every person who picks up these pages has a different tale to tell but I am convinced that at the end of day, there are certain truths…assorted ideas that hold true for all of us including those who would deny that any conventional wisdom could possibly apply to them. The truth is that we all long for joy. We all crave relationships that bring us a sense of connection and belief that in this big crazy world we matter deeply to someone. In a world of millions of different people doing millions of different things we need to feel like we belong somewhere and with someone. We silently long to feel valued and to offer something of importance that will, in ways large and small, somehow make a difference.
But here is what is happening instead. We are tethered to a sense of manic overwhelm and frustration is a feeling constantly simmering under the surface of our carefully constructed image. While we long for relationships and connection, families are flung to the far corners of the country and rarely live near one another. And if they do, they are often of the mind that if their in-laws lived in an alternate universe it might still be too close for comfort. Divorce is an epidemic and there is scarcely a household that isn’t in some way affected by the disease. “Blended families” are more common than smoothie shops and the “for better or worse” we lovingly committed to has been taken to the extremes of human tolerance. We have become dual income or single parent households and as a result our kids are being raised by someone we pay to provide the supervision they need if not the nurturing they deserve. We are struggling to keep up with commitments, expectations, and appearances and falling short on all fronts.
But the beauty that I continue to see is that the human heart is breathtakingly resilient. The fact that we struggle and fail and feel besieged by responsibilities and beleaguered by frustration speaks of something utterly magnificent to me. We feel these things because in spite of everything that comes our way, we continue to hope. We are frustrated because someplace in our soul we know there is something spectacular that we continue to long for. And that longing is the life we are intended to live. I have had the privilege of more than my fair share of bumps in the road. What I know now is that these events didn’t happen to me, they happened for me. They happened so that I could learn, grow and embrace the person I was supposed to become. For myself, for my family and for those whose path I was allowed to cross that might find comfort in knowing that they aren’t merely heard, they are truly and deeply understood. They happened so that I could earn a level of true understanding and resolute compassion that I never would have had or known before. They happened so that I could, perhaps, be fortunate enough to help others better understand their own journey. While some people earn PhD’s and an array of truly impressive credentials, my life has been my learning ground and I could defend my thesis on how to both survive and thrive and with both certainty and great aplomb. I’ve seen too much and pulled up my bootstraps far too many times to not assert my credentials. Credentials of insight and perspective that can be a welcome short cut through everything from toddler temper tantrums to a true understanding of how to choose, joy, abundance and accomplishment in life, business, relationships and family. Credentials that range from starting and running a business, to negotiating rocky relationships, to creating a thriving marriage, to finding your balance on the tight rope between work and family, to the absolute gift of raising of five utterly spectacular and unique kids. For better or for worse there aren’t many stones I haven’t been outrageous enough to overturn. The struggles don’t deserve the spot light, but without them none of us can feel the exhilaration of triumph and the realization that we have earned the wisdom that will bring us the life of imperfect bliss that I daresay we all deserve.
Whether life just needs a few tweaks or a major overhaul, there is surely a story here for you. I have also discovered that if we smugly believe that advice or experiences don’t apply to us, it a sure bet that one of these days they will, in fact, apply to us or someone we love. Best to get a jump on things. So if more joy, more calm, more balance, abundance, authenticity and achievement sound like they may be of interest to you, read on my friend. Perhaps we can share a story, shed a tear, laugh out loud, learn something, try something, and discover what is possible once again.