I’ve touched on this once or twice in my recent blogs but wanted to dedicate a whole post (ahem rant) to this topic: the beauty and hardship of seasons.
I’ve recently discovered that I, and so many others around me, are on the pursuit of happiness. That seems fine and healthy and all that but I do truly believe that it’s eating away at our lives. At our souls. The constant drive to be happy and be in a good mood at all times. The incessant need for things to be fast and for things to be easy. And this DESIRE to be perfect. We say we don’t want to be perfect, but we’re all ultimately striving for perfection in our lives. And then when we reach a level of success we pretend we didn’t work hard for it. Negating all the time, energy, sweat, and tears that we put in to it. All to pretend like it came naturally.
We want a better body… so we’re working out to try and reach our level of perfect.
We want an awesome loving relationship where things come easy and you rarely fight, get hurt, or hurt someone else… so we push away anyone that has a few flaws.
We did well on the exam but told everyone we barely studied and we found it so hard.
Our self talk is ridiculously negative because we assume that we’re falling short of a standard we need to achieve.
If we’re all being truthful, we’re all just on this endless and tiring hamster wheel of perfection. Or at least trying to achieve that.
When we don’t find the perfect human, read the greatest book, watch the best and newest movie, it’s all deemed as a “waste of time”. Things like “I don’t have time for this” and “I should be happier than what I’m doing right now” and “this job just isn’t for me — I need to be doing something different” plague out minds and our conversations.
But recently in the past year or so, God has been really pushing me to recognize the beauty of seasons.
The moment I sat down to actually think about it and really dig in to what it all meant, I felt like a weight had been lifted off me.
Wait, you mean I don’t have to try and be perfect all the time, for every day of the year? The pressure lifted. And oddly enough, I became lighter. Happier. More at ease.
This happened once I started realizing that sometimes life is just kind of shitty and you just can’t do anything about it. Sometimes the situation you’re in isn’t the greatest. Sometimes the party is a little boring or the game isn’t that exciting. And you know, that is okay. I’ve been pondering that playing and living overseas for most months of the year, a lot of times our mood and our “happiness” is determined by a lot of external factors; do you like your teammates, is your coach a semi-normal human being, are practices useful, are you winning the games / playing well individually, does free time exist, are there things to do in your free time, is there normal food to eat, what about the restaurants or grocery stores, can I cook for myself, how often will you get sick, how does your body feel, do I have friends, and what the heck does my apartment look like. That’s a lot of if ands and buts. And I will often tell people that going to play overseas is like the lottery. You literally have NO idea of the situation you’re walking in to. You just know what team it is and how much money you’re making. Everything else is either a really big hit or a really, really big miss. There’s not a lot of in-betweens.
So. Because of that, there are enjoyable seasons, and really hard, really tough, test-your-patience-I’m-not-going-make-it-out-alive seasons. But that’s exactly what it is. It’s a season.
We can’t possibly put so much pressure on the future and what it’s suppose to look like in our minds, because what if we get there and it’s different than what you imagined? You’ll be so busy being upset and trying to control the situations around you that you’ll forget to actually pause and SEE what it is that is offered here.
I wrote a blog recently titles “Life feels great and then it doesn’t” (click the title to go to that post) touching on this subject. How in the blink of an eye you might spiral downwards and have a few crummy days. I want you to hear me: THAT. IS. OKAY.
That is so normal it hurts me.
Sometimes we have had great seasons and we’re desperately trying to hold on to them; trying to recreate the same daily habits and routines in order to grasp on to that hope and happiness we once had. Again, it’s our constant search for our version of perfect. But we have to recognize the season, the circumstances, the surroundings, are all unique. You won’t be able to recreate it. And if you try, you’re going to run yourself into the ground. And not be a happy camper in the process.
What if we just surrendered to the idea of what something should be. Or what something could be. And just let it move and grow as it should.
This has been an interesting and constant lesson for me moving forward in grief. Because I lost my brother Connor five years ago I assumed that when these big life events happened, they would be so significant and great that my grief could be contained if even for a day. For example, I got engaged in Malta on Christmas Day two years ago after we rented scooters and eventually made our way to the other side of the island, watching the sunset overlooking the cliffs. Hello, perfection? However, perfection is not how I would describe what I was feeling. After the (happy) tears and the hugs and the champagne (of course) when we were settled back in the town we were staying in, we started calling family. And that’s when I realized that I was feeling like something was missing. That hole in my stomach I try to ignore was nudging at me. You don’t get to call Connor. And that was really, really hard for me.
I realized not too long ago that all of these major life events where I will be significantly happy will also be met with a lot of sadness. There is no in-between. There is just a very large blend of highly significant and emotional feelings. Yes, it is possible to be ecstatically happy and desperately sad all at once incase you were wondering.
So regardless of how magical and perfect my engagement was, how wonderful my wedding was, how great family get-togethers are, I wasn’t feeling the feelings I expected myself to feel. I was still missing my brother. I still had a nagging feeling in my heart. And that’s hard when you’re expecting to feel something different.
But don’t worry. There’s a solution to all of this.
Instead of creating how we SHOULD feel, let’s just wait and decide how we DO feel in that given moment, on that given day, during that specific encounter or event. If you wake up and don’t feel awesome about going somewhere, don’t do it. If you feel better than you thought you were going to, hallelujah and embrace it! Let’s not let our supposed thoughts dictate how we’re living the day to day. I think we would all be much happier if we just went through every day being honest with ourselves, and listening to our souls and our bodies so we can give them exactly what it needs in that moment. And when we don’t feel awesome, taking the pressure off of the idea to fix that and just be.
The beauty of a season is that it does not last forever. If Christmas was year round then the magic of the twinkling Christmas lights, ice skating, beautiful family dinners and gatherings, the anticipation of presents on Christmas morning, the joy of the first snow fall would all be normal and become mundane. There would be no Christmas spirit if it was happening all the time.
There is sacredness in the temporal.
When I finally started realizing and accepting this it gave me the freedom to be fully present in a moment. That moment may be beautiful, it may be challenging, and it may be frightfully painful but I am learning to be there. To be here. I can now be more fully be lost in a moment, fully alive with how I am feeling because I am allowing space to do that. I have never been more honest with myself than I am right now; but that took a lot of painful days where my body forced me to grieve and forced me to sit in a place of heartache and growth.
I am learning that I will never be able to recreate the same feelings of the past. But there are room for new ones. New memories. New feelings. And perhaps these new feelings will always come hand in hand with a twinge in the heart but that’s ok. Because that gives me the ability to hold the past in a special place in my heart and not hurt the memories by trying to recreate them. They are feelings and memories of the past. And they are beautiful and perfect just the way they are.
Each season is rare and special. When you look back at your life, I guess you can pick out specific moments and seasons that may have been difficult, or the times when a closed door may have opened up a different path and taken you to somewhere you never thought you’d be. Often the preceding seasons are preparing us for what is to become of the future. We are going through this season so we are perfectly prepared for what’s to come.
Holding on to our past not too tightly makes room for our future. But to get there we don’t need to force any feelings. We don’t need to force anything at all. Just have the courage to keep moving forward and fight for your dreams to become realities. Keep moving forward regardless of the season you’re in.
If we let our honest selves come up I bet we’ll have more space, more time, and more energy to end up in the right spot.
If it weren’t for those tough seasons, we wouldn’t make it to where we’re suppose to go.
And if you’re grieving, if you’re hurting, sometimes you just want to sit in the pain and that is really okay. It’s more than okay. And others will appreciate that too when you give them the space to be there. TRUST ME.
Live for this season that you’re in my friend. You won’t get another one quite like it.