I’m quite content with my life at the moment. I have a lot to be grateful for, a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. There will always be things I wish were different but I choose to see them as goals I can still achieve, or unattainable things that make me appreciate what I already have. Bottom line, I’m in a really good place right now, not just at this moment but with how I see things unfolding in my future. I’m happy.
That said, it’s taken a lot to get here and it takes a lot to stay here. I was talking to some students a while back and going over how my perspective, actions and overall approach to life help me get through my life as well as I currently do. And as I spoke, I thought to myself, “this is actually a lot of work”. On paper there are more good days than bad days. But many of those good days are spent working to keep them good. If something knocks me off my stride, my first impulse is almost always to look for a solution. To do that, I need to believe there is a possible solution. To believe that, I need to have hope. To have hope, I need to either already be in a positive state of mind, or be able to work towards getting into a positive state of mind. And I need to be able to get their at any time, in any situation, because the problems that need the solutions, that need the belief, that needs the hope hardly ever come with any pre-warning. So to many who meet me, I appear very positive, very level-headed and always happy. In all, very resilient. But while talking to the students it occurred to me how much hard work actually goes into trying to maintain that resilience. But more so how the work never stops because I always need to be prepared for that one thing that could ruin my day, week, month etc. It’s 24/7, non-stop, round-the-clock finding reasons to always stay positive, not be overwhelmed by whatever I might be dealing with and always be ready for what might be around the corner. But even when there are no negatives trying to pull me down, I still have to maintain this actively positive mindset because some of the really significant problems I’m prone to can only exist when I don’t actively prevent them. I’m talking: daily exercise to prevent muscle tightening or wastage; constantly drinking fluids to stave off water infections; making sure I’m never physically sat in the same position for too long or risk pressure sores; the list goes on and that’s just the physical side of things. I also have to keep my mind busy so I don’t start dwelling on the many things that get me down on a daily basis: trying to actively keep up a social life if only to remind myself it’s actually still possible; managing my care staff so I can actually… well… have care on a day-to-day basis; actively making sure my family sees I’m okay so they don’t worry so much; not going insane over the “joys”of dating while disabled; giving back in some way so I don’t feel guilty for everything I know I’m more fortunate to have; or just having a career that gives me a sense of purpose in life i.e. something I can tell myself to justify everything I don’t think is fair about my life.
It is exhausting.
I had a whole “positive-spin” to tag on the end of this post. Something to tie it up in a ribbon of positivity. But it all sounded too forced and fake and I honestly don’t have the energy. The truth is life can be a cruel mistress (to put it nicely). There are always going to be things that aren’t fair, with no clear reason and sometimes no known way to turn them into a positive. And that’s okay. There isn’t always a visible silver lining or a light we can see at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, all we can do is fight through the pain, come out on the other side bruised and battered and tend to our wounds. These are the times that make us stronger. The times that forge us from mis-shapen rocks into diamonds and Damascus steel. But we’ll never become that better, stronger version of ourselves if we don’t get through such times. So we just have to keep going, keep on chugging, or be broken down into pieces of our former selves. Either way, we aren’t coming out of these experiences the same as we went in. How we come out is up to us. I know how I intend to come out and I won’t stop until I get there. I also know I can’t get there alone. I have my friends, family and you guys. Yes, you reading this right now. You’re helping me get through everything. Because a problem shared (WITH THE RIGHT PERSON), is part solved. So thanks. Thank you for listening to me rant.
One thought on “Happiness Doesn’t Mean Easy”
I found this article to be both thought provoking and insightful. For me I found it to be a valuable mirror in which to reflect upon my own resilience in times of adversity. Thank you for writing it and I hope it is widely shared.