You know that you have seen some stuff and been around the block a few times when you can say that your moments of greatest pain became your greatest strength. When those moments of adversity became your greatest teacher and no longer feel like a stroke of bad luck, the short end of the stick, or a coincidence. When you know that there is no such thing as coincidence and when you realize that everything has purpose. When you look back with a smile at all you endured, knowing that everything had it’s place and had to happen exactly how it did. When there is no longer the wish that things could have been different, that some day better things are around the corner, and that one day everything will be ok. Getting here…somewhere…to where you are right now is quite an achievement. It might as well be the beginning to truly living.
Just the other day I was dreaming about life, the moment we are born, how we grow up and how our lives typically unfold. I was feeling sad, looking back and recollecting how many years we spend to build a career, to pursue financial stability or even independence. At least I did and in hindsight it felt that the ratio of hard work and so little play was way out of whack. I noticed that sadly in such a process we often forget to live. We get lost and we get stuck in a rut that seems to drown us. While financial security threatens our livelihood, it will always remain important and on the top of everyone’s demand list. Yet to achieve it, we often end up chasing the wrong ideals, or those passed onto us during our upbringing. And with that stress, depression, a non existing work-life-balance, unhappiness, feeling stuck and many other unpleasant traits show up at our doorstep.
I know that in that respect I have it easier than most. No, I wasn’t born into a rich family, but I worked hard all of my life. I invested and put money aside for retirement, in stocks or simply saved money. One of the biggest things was adjusting my way of life and how I live. If I wanted more freedom and become financially independent, it also meant I had to live within my means. Reduce and eliminate luxuries nice to have but not really needed. And I don’t have children, not by choice, but it allows the lifestyle I am living now and it easily could have been different, like it is for so many. For many years I missed not having children but in the end we all have to make due with what we are given in this life and no circumstances are ever exactly the same.
Thinking back over the years until this very point, I can’t help but feel a certain reminiscence for everything that had to pass, for everything that had to come and go. All the years that now feel like such a long time, going to work, hustling to make ends meet, surviving for another month, preparing for the unexpected and having that little nest egg for the emergencies that always seemed to find their way to me. Sooner or later they would knock on my door. I was never exempt from those hardships and like many I penny pinched myself through many years, saying no to things I wanted because they were not essential. I was sacrificing much at the time, wants, needs, hopes and dreams but I always found a way. Now I look back and say that it was worth it and essential for my now. Had I not done this, my reality would look a lot different. But I did stay consistent and diligent, committed and dedicated. And because of it and other reasons, I am gifted the time to look after myself with a higher care than ever before. I know I wouldn’t be here today if I still held that same stressful retail job. God knows, I couldn’t even physically do it these days, and all the years when I nearly flew across the unforgiving concrete flooring of warehouse buildings, retail stores and such, these times seem like a bittersweet memory considering how difficult it is for me to even walk now. Still, I believe that a higher power has plans and is watching out for me. My ending is still being written.