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.
As usual, yung pueblo seems to share things that hit me right in the gut. I saw both of these posts this morning. Two things have kept me single far longer than I ever imagined – focusing too much on my career and a dogged determination to find what yung highlights in both of these posts. I am not going to lie – I have always been more fearful of being alone and miserable in a marriage than I was of being alone, period. If I’m alone, I still have a life that has meaning. But alone in a marriage seems like a horrible place to be. And so, I’ve been willing to wait until I found it – until I found him. Or he found me – whatever. I was close. I’ve been close. Close, but no cigar. I didn’t realize the complications that come with being older and single – particularly when you don’t have kids and want them. Nonetheless, I’ve recently had this eye opening experience that makes me 100% certain that waiting was good. Waiting was right. It will (eventually) end where I hope it will. Sometimes, we need reminders of what is worth waiting for, pursuing, praying for, and fighting for. A selfless love – one that places the other person before self, and that is just as dedicated to a partner’s wellness? That is worth waiting for.
“If someone cannot reciprocate your love, if someone cannot give you what you truly deserve, you have to understand that aching for them to do so before they are ready is a form of self-destruction.” – Bianca Sparacino
Letting go of a person you love is one of the hardest kinds of “things” to let go of.
Acceptance and letting go aren’t the easiest of concepts to grasp, in general. You may even be convinced you’ve gotten it, only to realize you absolutely haven’t gotten it. I have let go of far more than I’ve held onto in this life of mine. It has gotten tiresome – in some ways. There are moments, right up until today, that I forget the powerful work I’ve done (that God has done) in my life to accept life as it is and to let go of what I cannot control.
Many years ago, I made a decision to live my life in the moment – to try what I wanted to try and do my best to live fully. I don’t exactly regret going where the wind blew. But it has complicated a few things now that I’m in my 40s. From my vantage point now, I look at life a little differently. It has made the process of letting go a little more complicated than I once found it. The stakes are higher, or so it seems.
The stakes are higher (or appear to be) because the world does a good job of convincing us of what our lives should look like and the timeline within we have to accomplish it all. Something about that plays tricks on us, in my opinion, when our hearts get involved. When my heart is involved, I (I know I’m not alone) tend to forget those hard-fought battles I’ve waged. One thing I was reminded of in the last few weeks, is that loving someone that can’t love you back is a heartbreak you don’t deserve. It’s a heartbreak I don’t deserve.
“You cannot keep pouring your love into a heart that is closed off to it. It will only leave you empty. You have to walk away. You have to let this person grow on their own terms, because you can’t love someone into their potential. You can’t love someone into being ready. They have to do that on their own.” – Bianca Sparacino
Getting caught up in artificial timelines or the impression that something has to happen now, adds to your (my) struggle to let go. We compound that struggle to let go of that person, when we are so consumed by the fear that we are running out of time. We aren’t running out of time. When it’s right, it’s right. There shouldn’t be a timeline attached to that. But you can’t, as Bianca Sparacino says, “love someone into being ready,” either.
Which leaves you with a bit of a conundrum when you care so much for someone. Do you wait for them to be ready? The answer is . . . not really. I’m convinced of this today. I’m convinced of this from getting knocked around by life. To wait for someone who is not capable of loving you as you need and deserve, is absolutely, 100% self-destructive.
To stay in the place of torturing yourself over what isn’t and feeling so much attachment to the person that can’t love you back, you’re short changing yourself. Honestly, you’re short changing the one who is capable of loving you back. The ache? I know it so well. But you deserve so much more. I deserve so much more. In the hard moments, when letting go feels impossible (I’m feeling it – trust me), focus on the hope of what lies ahead. You may not be able to see it, but it’s out there. By staying tethered to the person who can’t or won’t love you, you only delay what is meant for you – whatever that is.
Though it seems to be quite the opposite, when your heart is tethered to another and a specific outcome, the truth is – letting go is freedom.
Anxiety has been out of this world – stealing time on this last day of the Veterans Day weekend. I’ve worked enough hours lately that after a quick work task this morning, I was planning on spending my last day at home – writing, cooking, & decorating.
That’s not at all what happened. It took me hours & hours to write, battling intense self-doubt. I needed to stand firm & write. But I was flooded with distracting thoughts of my expanding to-do list, my dad’s living situation, missing the ones that are missing, and worrying about the future. None of which are helpful for focusing on a novel that *must* be finished.
Eventually, I did what I intended – writing 2,036 new words, of a novel that has had my heart, since the summer of 2020. As I was looking out at my patio & the woods, I was reminded of the precious nature of our time. If you’d told me I’d never see the man I love again, I’d go back and change some things. Nearly six months ago, or further back – if you’d told me my baby brother would get to heaven before I do, I’d tell you were crazy. But then I’d change some things. If I knew the number of my days, would I live differently?
The thing is, I don’t know the number of my days. None of us do. But one thing loss has taught me is that we don’t need to know the number of our days to make the most of each moment. Anxiety, worry, living in anger or unforgiveness, or the past – they all take from these precious minutes we have now. When I look back, I want to know I’ve used them wisely and that I’ve pushed through the hard things, to keep living the life I’m meant to.
I refuse to lose more time. It may have taken longer than I would have preferred today – but I found my groove, while looking out at the woods – with the golden autumn light warming this chilly day. I’ve lost enough time. So have you.
“Write clear and hard about what hurts.” – Hemingway
“As William James observed, we must reflect that, when we reach the end of our days, our life experience will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default. We are at risk, without quite fully realizing it, of living lives that are less our own than we imagine.”
– Tim Wu
Sometimes we hope and long for things that feel right on the surface. Our feelings are our feelings. We love, hope, dream, and plan around them at times. We are attracted to people we are attracted to. And yet, our feelings can betray us in many ways. There’s not much you can do to change them. You can love or care for someone and not be able to change that. But it may also mean that your feelings are pulling you in the wrong direction.
I deserve (you deserve), the absolute best. I reached a point (took forever) not too long ago, where I was just done with certain people. I’ve held onto or kept open connections because of obligation, my career, or an inability to let go (for reasons unknown to me). I have, in increasing measure, grown ruthlessly protective of my life and the days that lie ahead.
But sometimes, even still, I’ve found myself letting my feelings carry me away – without standing firm in what I want for my life. I don’t want (and you shouldn’t either) sloppy seconds, being chosen last, or being carried away by feelings, in general. Particularly when, as the quote above says, “we are at risk without quite realizing it, of living lives that are less our own than we imagine.”
What does that really mean? Frankly, I interpret this to mean – stop wasting time on men (or women) and relationships that are less than what you truly want (and deserve). I think it means that we go along with the current, carried by circumstances and feelings, without thinking. We’re pulled along in that current – without reaching for truth, remembering what we’re here on this earth to do, or what we know we truly want.
I can care for someone until I’m blue in the face. My feelings may try to steer me in their direction. But that doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for me. Your feelings are just that. We shouldn’t deny or hide them. Nor should we live a life void of them (of course). But we have to evaluate them and when they’re not steering us right, we have to choose differently.
I’ve shared this video above because I love the idea of making conscious decisions to choose. We have countless choices to make, boundaries to set, and paths to take. We can choose to remove ourselves from relationships that don’t keep us on that path or that potentially derail us from getting to that life we know we truly want to live. Additionally, we don’t need to sit back and passively wait for some future thing to happen for our lives to begin.
We can choose. I choose to believe that I’m worth more than someone who can’t make up his mind. I’m worth more than a man that is flattered by the attention, but doesn’t care for me and want what’s best for me. I’m worth more than someone who isn’t all in. You are too. You know this in your gut. You deserve better. You know you do . . .
I’m fully committed to choosing the right partner. I’m fully committed to choosing the path I’m on and the boundaries I need to set, to stay on that path. Don’t be swept up in the current of your feelings when you know you deserve more.