It’s Gonna Hurt

john green quote, it's gonna hurt because it matters, elaina avalos

“Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.” – John Green

I’ve had a bit of a rough week. There’s some uncertainty hanging around that’s absolutely driving me nuts and with an impending trip to California for my dad’s funeral, it was just a lot. I also had an event at work today. Though it was small as events go – they’re always lots of work and a lot of moving pieces. But what was jarring about this week was that in between doing everything else for work, I was doing things like…writing an obituary for my dad and looking at houses online for a potential move. Toward the end of the week, I was straight up not having a good time. 🙂 I wished for things that I just couldn’t make happen, no matter how much I wished or how hard I prayed. One of those things I wanted, was to make my feelings cooperate, as I grapple with very mixed emotions and really crazy circumstances right now. Our feelings are complex. So are various events, circumstances, and relationships (or relationships we wish to be in), in our lives. I’ve found myself all over the map with my emotions.

It’s possible for things to be more than one way. It’s possible to feel hopeful about a future with someone you care about, and also extremely fearful about getting hurt. It’s possible to look forward to a trip, but know it will be painful. It’s possible to be hopeful about a change, but worried somehow it won’t work out. Lately, I’ve gotten it in my head that life is one way or another. So dumb. I’m not really a black and white person. So how is it that I found myself thinking I should feel one specific way about any of the things going on?

The beauty in life can often be found in these very different and opposing sides of our emotions. Life is not simple. There are so very many shades and colors. Like the John Green quote (and is the case in my favorite novel of his), things we love can also mean greater hurt. I am incredibly excited about four days and three nights in one of my favorite places on earth. I’m also extremely sad to be going to California because my dad passed away. That’s hard stuff.

Falling for someone you care about, feels good. It feels hopeful. It’s also scary as hell. I can feel anxious that it was never what I hoped it would be. I can feel excited and happy and content at other moments. Sometimes in the same day. These feelings are not mutually exclusive. They can exist all at once (as weird as that sounds).

As I head into my final few days at work before going to California, I’m reminding myself that all of the wildness of this time means I can feel many things at once. Taking care of myself and ensuring I’m present and able to experience all life has to offer, means that I also have to accept all of the complexities of life and our emotions.

I think we can have a tendency to want to insulate ourselves from hurt or hard things. It’s a normal reaction. If you find yourself there, I wanted to share this – as it was quite comforting, though I wouldn’t have thought so.

California & a Road Trip

castro creek, castro canyon, big sur, elaina avalos
Photo by Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn || Castro Creek

After what felt like way too long, I finally have a date for my father’s funeral. Closure is needed and it’s really a crappy feeling to have a memorial or funeral so up in the air. I’m grateful to have that settled.

The day after his funeral, I’m leaving Southern California behind for the central or northern coast of California. I haven’t decided where. There is 400 miles of coastline to work with. 🙂 I don’t have tons of time – 4 days & 3 nights. I want to pick well. There are a few reasons this trip is so important to me.

– I want a few days of rest. I need it.

– The novel I’ve worked on the last few years is partially set along the central/northern coast, I could also use a boost of creative energy to get through (what I hope) is the final round of edits on the novel. I’d hoped I’d feel up to it when I got home. I might feel like it in the next couple of weeks, but if I don’t, I hope the trip will help.

Napa Valley, vineyard, Napa, wine, elaina avalos

– Maybe most important of all is that this is the trip, though shorter than I would have planned, is part of a promise I made to my brother – for a trip for our April 2023 birthdays. If you’re a first-time reader, my brother passed away 11 months ago. I honestly didn’t think it would work out to go on a trip, for him – in April. But God knew it would work out.

I’m honestly very unsure right at the moment where I’ll head to. But I’ll make up my mind this weekend (I hope). It’s nearly impossible to pick. 🙂 I have to keep telling myself I have a lifetime to take more trips. Hopefully next time it will involve some camping. By the way, if I could pick the perfect place to live, it would involve the ocean & the mountains – pine forests (Redwoods? I mean…😍) and sea salt air. I mean, how much better can it get? I can’t wait to enjoy a little bit of that for a few days.

muir woods, muir woods national monument, elaina avalos
Muir Woods || Photo by Airam Dato
mcway falls, big sur, julia pfeiffer burns state park, elaina avalos
McWay Falls – Big Sur || Photo by Veronika Bykovich
avenue of the giants, humboldt, humboldt ca, redwoods, elaina avalos
Avenue of the Giants – Humboldt || Photo by Tim Oldenkamp on Unsplash
avenue of the giants, humboldt, humboldt ca, redwoods, elaina avalos
Avenue of the Giants || Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

Life Can Change in an Instant

I took this photo of the last full moon, not knowing then, how quickly things would shift and change in my life. But I’m well acquainted with the split second moments where everything changes. Last year it was my brother’s death, Monday it was my dad going into the hospital. This time, I’m not sure he will make it.

I fly out on Tuesday. And while I have to see my dad and will, there’s a lot of business to deal with and paperwork to track down and phone calls to be made, too. Doing it from here, while I also need to advocate for his care in the ICU, is impossible.

But the moon – that’s where I started. The last full moon was March 7th. In a matter of a few days, things were so different. Life can change in an instant. I know we know this. But we don’t live it.

We live in the past, we live in the future. Last night and early this morning I was anxious about things a week ahead of me. I don’t even know any of those things will happen. None of us knows what the future holds. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to remain grounded in the moment. It’s all we have – all we are guaranteed. I don’t want to lose the opportunities I have in front of me, because I’m way ahead, worrying about what may never come.

Life changes and shifts in an instant. Don’t lose out on living fully, loving hard, taking chances, and telling those you love – that you love and care about them. This all sounds rather cliché, I know. But that’s what you get out of multiple losses & grief packed in tight over a few years. Life is too f-ing short to play small and not chase down what & who you want.