Humanity is a funny thing... we come into this world conceptless, determined, arrogant, clingy. And over time we lose some of these things replacing them with experience, sadness, ineptness, passion. When a person leaves this plane for another, no matter how ineffectual their life was, a small space remains... we hope, in our living, that this residual space is in someones’ heart. No matter how awful that sounds when reading it, it is the truth. The more heart space that remains, the longer the memory of ourselves remain, the more of your life went into the positive and not the negative.
Life is a series of choices, this we know. We chose to try, we chose to be passionate or willful, we choose to be satisfied or dissatisfied... we chose many things and sometimes we can even chose when we die. We are the authors of our own stories, sometimes we are great, successful writers with lots of wonderful stories to tell. Sometimes we aren't so great and can't barely lift pen to page... but we, regardless of hope or health, are the authors. We chose when each chapter begins and when each chapter ends and we decide how they read. Some of us deny that this is factual or will throw semantics into it but, regardless of faith and regardless of denial, we write and we chose whether to write well or to just barely get the words out.
For myself, my previous chapter ended when I got on the plane from Florida going to Denmark with my daughter almost a year ago and then a new one began. I made a solemn but honest choice to leave my life in California behind in order to form a brand new one several hundred miles across the Atlantic Ocean in Copenhagen. That choice has brought me a lot of things to write about... grief, frustration, joy, thrill, pride... each sentence that passes is another step closer to finding out what happens at the end of my tale and some days, the hard days, it can be difficult for me to remember that.
On my hard days I do not find myself hoping for a conclusion.... Typically I find myself hoping for a resolution. But, then again, I've never been one to feel so hopeless and so miserable that the only way I could possibly end my suffering is to conclude the story of my life. Recently I have found myself surrounded by ending tales... people that are ready to be finished, ready to stop writing. I don't blame them but I also don't feel sorry for them, my hope is that in their turmoil they wouldn't want that from me anyway. My chapter here in Denmark has been seemingly bookended by epilogues and it’s really hard… it’s also somewhat inspiring. Not inspiring in joy but inspiring in determination not to give up or to let the other people in my life, the people I know are having a rough go of things, to give up either. These difficult losses have inspired me to keep my loved ones in my heart to help push them forward… to help them realize that there isn’t always just darkness.
In the last two months my life has taken some weird turns… I’ve been really hard on myself and I’ve been really forceful with what I thought was my path. Sometimes I know what I want and I refuse to stop, even when I’m losing sleep, even when I’ve stopped feeling, even when it begins to take a toll on my family life… I’m driving to a place and I will get there if it kills me. But this time I’m not… this time I’m getting out of the car and I’m going to take a break before I get back in. “Success goes stale if you run out of fresh ideas” and I feel like I’ve definitely begun going stale from overthought. I want to be and move and shake and push but I also want to live and enjoy the life that I’m living instead of being like an addict for what feels like career success.
We can become aberrations of ideas if we aren’t careful. Those that love us begin to have these expectations and when we cannot deliver the residue of our failure can be very difficult to clean off. It stings… but we can chose for how long, we can decide to wallow in that failure or we can chose to overcome. It takes bravery and honesty, passion and persistence. It’s ok to feel the loss, it’s ok to hurt from it and to take a break… but we cannot use it as a conclusion to the end of our stories, only as a bounding point for the next chapter.