I’m always wishing to know others and be known by others.
Now I have an article to write and I don’t want to waste the opportunity.
But also, at the moment I feel empty. I feel like my brain, my body and my heart have thought through, processed, held, and felt so much in the last two years that they’re kind of on sabbatical at the moment. They’ve tapped out.
Every time I thought “well that was hard, glad that’s over so we can move on and get back to normal” in the last few years, it was just a few short days or weeks or months until something happened which completely threw “normal” way out of reach all over again.
I know, categorically, that the repercussions of COVID have seeped into all areas of life making normality actually impossible – but that hasn’t kept me from aiming at normal. But so much has happened and changed that I’m really questioning just what I get to assume is in fact normal. I’m starting to think that, as an adult and parent in 2022, “normal,” for the foreseeable future, actually means holding every thing and every plan very loosely because it’s likely everything will be constantly changing.
I’m also wondering, though, if this is anything new. Pandemics, political and social unrest, and wild weather events are perhaps bigger elements at the moment, but in reality, maybe regardless of these external circumstances, being a human is just one long process of letting go.
Inherent in growing up is change – when you’re young each year you get to add to your age feels monumental and exciting and like you’re heading towards this point in the distant future when you’ll be an adult, you’ll be grown, and from there the changes sort of stop, right?
But as my kids have gotten older and I’ve wrestled with different ages and phases I see more and more that all of life for every person is constantly changing. Seasons of the year pass and so do seasons of life but being a “grown up” doesn’t suddenly mean that the passing of stages is easy and simple and finished.
Adult life has had a lot of shifting and growing for me. And it feels like I’m constantly facing changes big and small. The last few years especially have caused me to change and let go of things, community, people, many elements of my identity or my overall sense of self, and many ideas about how the world works.
And these changes and transitions take time and energy, which I’m struggling to accept. Processing emotions literally takes physical energy. Thinking about reality shifting around me uses up actual caloric energy. My body holding tight and armouring itself takes a physical toll which takes physical therapy appointments and physical exercises to release. But maybe this too is a more accurate idea of what being human involves. Being an adult who is trying to be intentional, peaceful, and happy costs time and literal physical energy. Perhaps part of the letting go is acknowledging that those resources are limited, and in difficult times especially, must be allocated carefully.
I’m not feeling fully peaceful in this idea. I feel like the bottom has dropped out from under me and I’m failing at life if what I have to face in front of me is a long life of losing people and things and perpetually letting go. But, if this idea is true that life is a long process of letting go, then there is a certain amount of peace in that these challenging things are not happening in my life because of my failure. I couldn’t “adult” well enough to keep from having to deal with loss. So rather than trying to hold tighter and control for innumerable factors better maybe I should be working at loving easily and warmly and deeply so that when the losses happen, at least I know the love and life before was meaningful.
I’d love to hear if this feels true to you or if you see things differently – life is feeling like quite the puzzle right now but I’m always surprised how much hearing from other people matters.