The story of my decade is a lovely one. I have more lines and more joy. I am confident in my me-ness. I know who my close friends are. They talk to me not about me. My empathy is at an all time high, and so is my good humor. I still have this red dress in my closet and could rock it at a moment’s notice. I also have so much more to write. Living life fully is a writer’s spark.
I said I would never do it. I was a walker, a hiker. I liked an upbeat yet measured pace. I liked to make frequent stops and assess conditions around me. I am an asthmatic and allergic to Michigan. I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to do it. I would never run.
Life has a funny way of changing your mind. One, job loss. Two, declining health. Three, sadness. I liked wine too much, and I liked myself too little. I had a brief run-in with the C word. I woke up one morning and decided the only option I had was to run. I quit drinking, 100%, cold turkey. I went vegan. I bought my first running shoes, and I started to run.
I plan to share more of my journey to health, inside and out, here. I ran my first two 5Ks over the last several weeks, and I completed my second in 28 minutes. I have a simple outlook. It is never too late to be a new you.
Whenever I find myself in trouble or hear the woes of others, there is a unifying theme. Everyone is searching for what is on The Other Side of their current strife.
Is is health? Is it a new job? Is it love? Is it love undone? Is it wealth? Is it peace? Is it a trip? It seems for most as if The Other Side is one or two magic things that will make life seem beautiful, whole again. I am learning The Other Side is not that simple or concise.
If you imagine life as a circle you continue around, there really is no Other Side. You will always have closures, new beginnings, and in betweens. Going in circles is dizzying. Most of our world is forced into a linear progression where if we achieve #1, then we can continue on to #2. While I don’t want to go in circles, I know that I have done #1 on many occasions, and #2 never comes. Am I a failure? No, not at all. Maybe I am just not meant to have that #2. Life is not tidy enough to remain linear.
So how do we pull ourselves out of circles or off endless, hurtful, linear paths?
I like to break down The Other Side into moments I live each day. This past year, I did not deserve to lose my job. Today, I really don’t want to face oncoming health challenges. I’d love to see what is on The Other Side of these challenges. Also today, I looked in the mirror and realized I made the successful conversion to being a vegan. I am working steadily on my book and job search. I have volunteered and put so much good back into the world while I have
been out of work. And, most importantly, I have people who love me, get me. These things are Other Sides, too. They are not necessarily big moments or solutions to major issues. They make a difference though.
Other Sides can be the in betweens. They can be slides off of vicious cycles. They can be as simple as a glass of tea after a tough day or as complex as a cure for our disease. They can be what is in us waiting to come out or what is outside of us waiting to lift us to new heights. Appreciate them all. It’s how you keep living when life punches you.
Joy is freshly baked monkey bread, hot from the oven smelling of sugar and spice.
Joy is fresh mangoes, juicy and sweet, sunshine in a little dish on a rainy winter day.
Joy is a desk etched with the scratches of time where a tree grows inside while an old tree passes outside, completing the circle.
Joy is looking for one bird in the bush and finding many, nature’s symphony of life and potential.
Joy is simple. Joy is you.