From time to time I’m told how strong I am in spite of everything I’ve “been through.” This is very sweet and it is absolutely a lovely thing to hear, I don’t think my attitude or ability to deal with life is remarkable in any way. Many days I do feel strong and resilient and positive – but most of the time I also just feel lucky.
Truly… I know that I am INCREDIBLY lucky. I was raised in a safe, secure and loving home with two amazing parents and a little brother who has become an incredible man. My entire family is wonderful. My hometown was tiny and safe. I love my friends and have been so blessed by them in a million ways. I have never been hungry or homeless or lived in poverty, not even close. I’ve been able to travel, and though I have an ever-growing wishlist of places to visit, I know I’m luckier than many to have seen so much by the relatively young age of 28. I have a perfectly real relationship with my awesome, hilarious, extrovert husband, who is my opposite, my rock and my everything and consider myself lucky to have joined his big, crazy family. These are just a few of the bright points, the beautiful things. I’m aware just one of these blessings makes me luckier than so many humans in the world.
But no one has a perfect life, and yes – I’ve dealt with some big, bad things. There have been plenty of bumps in the road and very sad times. I will never fully recover from losing my mom to cancer when I was 18. That is, of course, a defining aspect of my life. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis at 26 and having a mastectomy certainly wasn’t in my life plan. I’ve lost too many friends in tragic ways; I’ve struggled with anxiety; I have ongoing health concerns. What was supposed to be an amazing celebration – our wedding – was instead wrapped in tragedy and I’m still working on reconciling those events in my heart and mind. And it continues – bad news keeps coming, as I suspect it always will. The bad stuff is part of life, just like the good stuff is.
I’ve been feeling the pull to make a radical shift in my outlook on life. That may sound like a lofty goal but honestly, it doesn’t feel like a choice. I feel like I’ve been brought to this point, through these beautiful and ugly parts of life, with no other choice than to let go and let life happen. To keep putting one foot in front of the other, to see the beauty that exists among the very ugly parts of this world. To trust. To count my blessings, be thrilled about the little things. To smile through the bad. Shit happens every day. Bad shit happens to good people. The world isn’t fair, but I have to keep believing its beautiful.
photo: jonas seaman