Update 475 – On Life

Today I woke with a smile and although I’m tired, it will be a good day. To be fair, yesterday I woke with a smile too but within thirty minutes I thought I’d broken a toe and started my morning with a grimace. It did not carry into the day, but today, the toe is doing fantastic and I even had a second cup of coffee when I got to work! This doesn’t happen often. So it’s really like an extra caffeine-tastic day.

I’ve avoided writing this post for a while. Maybe in part because I’m only settling with some of what’s passed recently. Or maybe it’s because things are still a little raw. Dealing with all of it means I shut a bit of the world out. I know this about myself. But here I am, processing in a super public way, so maybe someone else out there in the vast void will connect and realize they aren’t alone. I know that always helps me.

Sometimes you think you’re moving along quite nicely and then BAM, a truck hits you. You start to pick yourself up and BAM, another truck. You sort of stop and breathe and shake it off, BAM! This time it was a tequila truck, which was probably a good thing, as you’re only really thinking of drowning yourself in margaritas at this point anyway.

DEATH BY MARGARITA!

But for real, I only had three and they were in three different days. Take that for what you will. It felt like I was just starting to heal from losing my grandfather at Christmas only I’d really just shoved all those emotions into a little bottle in January when I didn’t want to cry anymore and I walked away.  I moved on with life, as we all must. But then it wasn’t just Phil, it was so much more.

Some friendships are bound for a lifetime, and some are bound to end as we grow different ways. This is part of life, sometimes it happens so quietly and in the night, that we barely notice. Time slips by and the next time we reach out to said person months or years have passed. And sometimes the loss is felt on such a grand scale, that it’s a physical pain. Like an open wound. January was hard for so many reasons. Loss was left and right and when it came to attending Phil’s funeral, I couldn’t go in the compacity I wanted to. Heartbroken doesn’t begin to explain. January moved on to February and February into March and little things happen and big things happen and somehow life continues without permission.

One of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer at the end of March. When I found out, I lost my breath. I don’t know how I made it through that conversation without actually losing my shit. It was one of the most surreal moments. With a calm head, we talked about it. About how they caught it early and the doctors gave really good odds. After surgery, this person is doing well and the doctor’s odds were ever in their favor. The idea of losing this person or watching them go through something so horrific and undeserved pains me. Not that cancer is ever deserved. Those aren’t the right words. I don’t think I have them in this case. I can own that. This person is in more than twenty years of my memories. Twenty years of friendship. I can’t even begin to imagine life without knowing they are a phone call away.  To say that this didn’t make me analyze all my relationships would be a lie.

It did.

On the heels of mutated cells, someone in my circle of people passed away. I wasn’t particularly close to this person in recent years. I’m still angry at the way it happened and the lack of open conversation about mental health and drug abuse. But it doesn’t feel like my place to say as much. He was close with many of my inner circle and watching their grief has been painful enough. His impact is felt, rippling into the various friendships in my life.

Life has a ripple effect. So does death.

For spring break, as most of you know, I went to California and spent five days at Universal Studios. Making use of that Gold Pass before I have to decide whether or not to buy a new one. Coming home I went by my aunt’s for the first time since Christmas. Since losing Phil. I never made it to the funeral, work obligations kept me in Washington. Instead, my mother sent me photos, videos, and updates as the whole day passed. Even though I couldn’t be there, it helped me to feel connected. But visiting seemed to stir all of those emotions from December. When I was safely in my car, driving home, I let myself cry. I cried for my Aunt and all that she’s lost. I cried for myself and for every person affected by the loss. When I started it was hard to stop. Hard to shut out the grief all over again. I realized maybe shutting it out wasn’t the right response in the first place. Moving through it would have been better. So I’ve been moving through it again in the last couple of weeks. Recently, I reread something I wrote in December, On Death. The fact that those words came from my brain still stops me in my tracks. It was as if I knew I’d need to read them. As if past me knew, future me was going to need gentle reminding. Life happens and we have to do our best to live our best selfs every single day. Not to live in grief but to move through it, glue our pieces back together, and keep trying.

Glue our shattered pieces together.

This image sticks in my mind.

It’s the reminder I’ve needed. Life still happens and life moves on and we don’t always have a say in any of it. Last week someone tried to steal my identity and money to the tune of four thousand dollars. There were tears, two panic attacks, and more cursing than a ship filled with sailors. And I’m still dealing with it, but I recognize it could be so much worse. In the grand scheme of things, I’m quite lucky. It will be a headache for weeks to come but it will be okay.

Everything comes in the wake of finding out, that teaching may not be the path for me. I’ve worked hard for everything I have. Nothing was handed to me. I’ll likely pay for my education for the rest of my life. Despite my education and experience and current employment, the hoops are too grand to jump and be successful on my own. Coming to terms with this new reality is difficult. I didn’t realize I wanted it as much as I did. What I’ve learned though, is it’s okay for dreams to change.

It’s okay.

I’m going to be okay.

I’ve mourned this change. Now I’m looking to the horizon and what my future might hold. I’ve made a game plan and the pieces to my new puzzle are starting to fall into place. I’m actively looking at new careers and deciding what it is I want to do with the rest of my life. Or at least during the next chapter of the novel titled Miranda. I’ve opened my search circle to the entire west coast. I literally mean the coast though, as I can’t fathom living more than an hour from the ocean.

The sea owns a part of my heart.

I don’t have all the answers but it will happen. I’m ready to move on and start new adventures. I’m not going to fear this change, I’m going to embrace it with arms wide open.

Life is too short to be anything less than happy. I refuse to settle on this fact. To compromise for a less extraordinary life because of fear or a feeling of ineptitude. I am awesome. I will do more amazing things.

Grand things are on the horizon, my friends. Sometimes, I think we just gotta reach out and grab them.

Cheers,

M

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