Guess what, friends? This is our 500th post together!
To celebrate it, I wanted to write a really seminal post about something major. I wanted to wait until i had something extraordinary to say, or something profound to express.
On Friday I was cleaning the bathroom, and as i was scrubbing out the toilet (what a great setting to really learn a deep life lesson!) I realized this: we notice so much more readily what is not done than what IS done in life.
Very rarely do people walk into a bathroom and say, “Wow! What a sparkling clean toilet bowl! What a shiny faucet! Someone must have recently bleached out that bathtub too- nice work!” But I know that when people walk into a bathroom that’s nasty it for sure stands out that things have NOT been done.
And it hit me that this is a good allegory for life. What we really notice at the end of the day is what we have NOT done. Very rarely do we regret what we HAVE done (“Gee, I never should have taken that vacation; it’s so much less relaxing than I expected.” or “Hunh. What a waste of time hiking up that mountain; the view just isn’t as pretty as I thought it would be…”). But we often regret missed opportunities. We look back over our lives and the chances we didn’t take are as glaring as a filthy toilet. We say no so often when we should just say yes.
I got a copy of a report that one of my doctors sent to another one of my doctors. In in, she describes me as “grouchy and frustrated”. She notes that I engage in no meaningful activities. When I first read that I got a bit of a jolt. But then I very quickly realized that she was absolutely right. When she met me, I was grouchy and frustrated. I was in a very bad head space, and although I told her that I was feeling lousy, and that this was not typical for me, she really had nothing else to judge me on. So she wrote her honest impressions of the person in front of her. And when I described to her what I was doing on an average day- sleeping, taking pain medication, laying on a heating pad, and staying in bed, I can see absolutely why she thought my life was pretty purposeless. So she wrote that too.
But what was different about my reading of that report from all other times I would have read something like that is this (and it’s a biggie for me): I was totally at peace about it.
For the first time in my life I felt like I didn’t have anything to prove. I didn’t feel like I had to launch a crusade to prove her wrong, or that my life was indeed worthless, or that this was proof that I was actually worthless. I saw it for what it was: a snapshot of a bad day frozen in time. And oh well.
And that was so freeing I can’t even put it into words.
I wish I could share with you some big secret about how I got to this place. I think it’s a combination of age and medication and being broken.
But I feel like I have been broken the way a seed is broken before it sprouts. If you look at a seed under the ground, it looks like it is dying and decaying. It cracks open and bears no resemblance to the neat little package you first put into the soil. As it continues to decompose something wondrous happens. It sprouts a tentative little shoot. And that shoot, if nurtured in the right conditions becomes a strong and hardy plant. That seed is destroyed in order to become something so much more.
And I feel like a seed.
I have been utterly destroyed by my illness. The person I was has been decimated. For so many years I have struggled to piece together a patchwork quilt of who I used to be with who I wanted to be with who I thought I might be and I just failed and failed and failed. I was helpless against a brain that stayed broken.
But now I feel new. I finally feel hope on the horizon that who I can be going forward doesn’t have to be the old me minus something. It can be a new me reinvented. And that feels liberating. It feels like saying yes to life instead of no. It feels like looking at what I can do instead of what I can’t. It’s about the life I have and not the life I don’t.
This is the 500th post on this blog and it is a milestone for me, not because I have anything Earth-shattering to say, but because I am in a good place on this day and in my own skin. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but at least in this moment, I am okay.
And that is worth celebrating.
Truth be told, there is nobody I would rather celebrate it with than you guys