Thursday, May 29, 2014

Overcoming Challenges

What would life be without challenge? Doesn't it seem like it would be utopia - a life of perfection and ease? But would it? If we don't have bad days to offset the good ones, would we appreciate the good stuff as much?

I don't think that I feel life any differently than most people. I write it out loud, thus (I think) my family thinks that I (sometimes) could use a little medication or therapy or something from time to time. But the times that I feel that my writing has touched a chord with someone are the times when I am 'real'.

Life hurts sometimes. A comment is internalized to mean (perhaps) more than it was meant to say. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it isn't.

I let a few words hold much too much power a few days ago. A two minute conversation took hold and grabbed onto me in a way that it shouldn't have.

Normally I can let these things go once Life distracts me and reminds me that this was just a blip on the radar and I can set it free. Usually Life sweeps in and puts things into perspective for me. No hard work on my part is required. Often I volley my words and feelings off of another human being, validate my point of view and carry on.

Why did these words stick?

I think it is because they hit me where I am most vulnerable. I was particularly vulnerable this time because I had been actually working (and I felt like I was succeeding) at overcoming my shortcomings. I was far from perfect but I felt like I was better. That's when the blow was struck.

It winded me. It kicked me when I was down. I was wounded.

Thankfully Life came in and saved the day once again. I simply started becoming more of the person that I thought that I was becoming before The Comment and I regained my own perspective. I still know that I am far from perfect and have a long list of things-to-improve. But I slapped a band aid on my gaping wound and I'm limping towards my next pit stop.

I think that a person must (?) need to be challenged from time to time to help determine if you are on the path that you want to be on.

I have had things-like-this happen time and time again. Almost each and every time I picked myself up and carried on, there was a 'sign' of some sort that I was on the right path. I just needed to be tested.

Yesterday was a day of little signs. Phone calls and emails (okay it was only one person who called, but they called twice) found their way to me at a time when I needed to know that I was still okay. I needed a little nudge to remind me that this path that I am on is right for me right now.

Looking back on the Years of Great Challenge when I chose to upend life-as-I-knew-it and change career paths were not like that. It felt like I was getting hit on the head with a sledgehammer and I kept pulling myself up and thinking that it was simply a challenge that I needed to overcome. I knew that if I kept doing the next right thing, my path would be cleared and I would find my way.

I found little gold nuggets along the way as I struggled through those years. Maybe they weren't nuggets. Maybe they were fool's gold. But how do you know the difference when you are living your life 'forward'? It is so hard to know the value of what you are seeing until you see your life in a rear view mirror.

The difference between 'then' and 'now' is in the way that I feel when I wake up in the morning. Then, I woke up with a fist in my chest. Every day was hard. There was no break. It was simply hard. Now, I have tough moments but they pass. I wake up with ease, even if I know it could be a challenging day. My heart knows the difference.

Yes, I overcame a challenge and came out the other side a little more secure in where-I-am-headed. Life unveiled a few cues to nudge me forward. I am back on track again. It feels good. It feels right.

How do you know if you are on the right path? Honestly? I simply don't know. Keep looking for those cues that reaffirm where you are headed.  Pay close attention to how you feel when you wake up in the morning.

Challenges are good. But we don't need them every. Single. Day. We need to come out the other side of them a little wiser. And ... with a happy heart.

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