I have been thinking about life altering changes, mostly those that are unwanted and unexpected. There are a lot of challenges in life, but there are a few that can truly spin us around and leave us totally disoriented. They also take away our security and sense of our future. When your future becomes a black hole and you lose everything in a moment, what do you do next?
Death, divorce, and cancer…unexpected losses, life threatening challenges or tragedies are some of the life events that will test us to the max and kick us out of our every day comfort zone and rip our known future away. Of course these things happen all the time, we just don’t expect them to happen to us.
It is really bewildering to go from an everyday couple with a routine about to start a fun summer weekend to the 26 year old widow. At least it was for me. I know that other serious life events can have a similar feeling when it comes to where to go or what to do next after these experiences.
For me, I felt frozen. I wanted to go backwards, definitely not forward. I felt it would take me further away from my comfort zone, my life that I knew, the husband I loved with all my heart, my best friend and the life we had planned out together. Our future. When I looked forward it was just black.
It was like when you first enter a unfamiliar dark room from the light and you can’t see anything. You put your hands out in front of you and squint to try to see. But there is nothing. So you try to shuffle backwards out of the darkness…..but then you realize that the door you came through is now a solid wall and there is no turning back.
So here’s what I figured out, you better get used to the unknown. Just like in a dark room, your eyes will adjust. Let go of the need to live in routine. Let go of living only in the familiar. You will adapt, but you do have to open your eyes and face it to overcome it.
I now believe that as terrible as these life experiences are, they are also blessings. Perhaps there are some people who get by in life with only experiencing minor loss and challenges, but will they ever really know who they truly are? If you are never pushed and tested, you can never know what you are capable of. A few naturally test their limits, and some, are forced into it by life.
Whatever has happened to you may be the absolute worst, terrifyingly devastating experience that you barely survive, but at the same time, it also can be the best one, that leads you to finally truly live for the first time.
What do I mean by that? You will learn to value every second, be grateful for every small blessing, feeling happy or one carefree minute in the light, once you get back to it. Laughing will become a cherished past time, as well as those that partake in it with you…because you have died while living, you now have the knowledge to know what it is to truly live.
The truth is, your future has always been unknown. You and others just convinced yourself otherwise. That is why these events are such a shock. People die? Marriages end? People are not perfect? I am mortal and not guaranteed a 100 years free of tragedy or suffering? What a revelation, right?
So, embrace the unknown. Then kick it’s ass. Learn to try, learn to take a risk, learn to make mistakes. Avoiding mistakes will lead you to living to only a fraction of your potential. You’ve already been locked into the darkness, open your eyes and step forward. It’s the only way to find the way out.
And as always, NEVER GIVE UP.