Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all-around bon vivant.
Death Is Part Of Life
I’ve witnessed a lot a death the last couple of years. No, I’m not talking about the mass shootings or acts of war in far off places. I’m talking about up close and personal. Family members, close personal friends, and even family pets. Intimate losses that you don’t just shrug off and go on about your business. Losses (and a few near misses) that make you take a breath, and examine your own life. From these experiences I have reached some conclusions that I’d like to share.
I'm Still Here
Yes, they are all dead. But I’m still here. This was a valuable lesson that I learned when my first husband died at the tender age of 49. After his passing I spent several weeks of being numb, when it occurred to me that what I needed to do was just keep living. Yes, it was a devastating loss, but he was the one that was gone. I am still very much alive, and with quite a few years ahead of me if I take care of myself.
Of course, everyone needs to grieve. We all do it in our own ways, and I’m not trying to take anything away from that. What I decided was that while still acknowledging my grief, at the same time I also needed to focus on the present. And the future. The past, not so much. I’m fairly certain that my dearly departed would not have wanted me to spend the rest of my life depressed and alone. So I began moving forward with my life. Making other plans. Carrying on. And I’m still moving forward today. One step at a time.
Too many of our plans are set to take place “someday,” when all the stars align, and the time is right. Guess what? Life is messy. There will never be the perfect moment to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. And if you keep waiting, it may never come. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Sure, the sun will come up, but you can’t count on still being here to see it. So just do it! Write that book. Take that trip. Call that friend. You get the idea.
Find Your Joy
If you’re sitting at home, watching TV, expecting someone to come knocking at your door with an invitation to some fun event or other activity, then you’ll probably be waiting for a very, very long time. If you want to move on with your life (and I highly recommend it), then you’re going to need to seek out your own fun. Sign up for a class. Go to a concert. Try out a new restaurant (yes, you can do that alone). Take a trip (yes, you can do that alone too). In short, waiting for someone else to “make” you happy is as misguided as it is unwise. Decide what brings you joy, and go do it! What are you waiting for?
What If I Fail?
Is fear of failure holding you back? Well, get over it. Everyone fails at some point. Some failures are spectacular, like messing up a presentation in front of thousands of people. Some failures are small and personal, like getting lost on the way to someplace new, only to turn around and go back home because by now you’re too late. But guess what? You lived through it. You’re still here. And if you do it right, you’ve learned from these mishaps, and won’t repeat them. It’s only a true failure if you give up or don’t learn a lesson.
Other people are going to try to comfort you. They will try to advise you and support you. That’s all fine and good, but it’s not their responsibility to make things better for you in the long run. That’s your job. They don’t have all the facts rattling around inside your head, plus they have their own lives to live. Accept their help, understand that it is and should be temporary, then repay it in kind or pay it forward. At some point, however, cut them loose. Find your own path.
You Are Fortunate
Just think about it. You probably have it a lot easier than millions of other people on this planet. Most likely you’re reading this article on the internet. Only half of the world’s population uses the internet, and millions of people can’t read and write. Depending on what source you use, around forty (40) percent of the people on this planet have no indoor plumbing.Think about that the next time you gripe about how hard your life is. Take your time, and your talents, and go out there and make a difference!