“Accept the things you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can… and have the wisdom to know the difference.”
–Nora Allen (Barry’s mom)
Start Over? Go back and do things differently? Go back to the past with what I know now? What would you change? Would you go back to who you were? Regrets?
We have all gone through our own personal hell at one point in our lives. Things have not gone the way we expected or wanted, and we’ve been left with only that emptiness in our soul. Some of those beasts may have been small and were easily overcome, while the larger demons have so drastically changed us that we no longer recognize the path we are on. We no longer recognize ourselves.
I have gone through a great deal over the past decades and even much more these last couple of years. Really too much to talk about and it doesn’t even matter what happened, but to be clear though, it has been and continues to be a tough part of Caleb’s and my journey. To help visualize my dilemma, I see myself trying to spin plates, dozens of them, on sticks that seem to never be stable to stand without assistance. Each plate signifies something important in my life, that must remain intact. I continue spinning these plates that I love to keep them part of my life, all the while knowing the minute they stop giving them the attention they need they will crash in the most epic manner. The goal is to keep them all going, not too fast and never too slow. Never give too much attention or not enough. It’s easy when you are only trying to keep a few goals and objectives going, but really that isn’t me. I add and add, trying to quickly advance my life by figuratively spinning all the plates that I possibly can. I know where I want to go, and think too highly of my own personal abilities to make things happen. I overestimate myself. I get too excited, lose patience, and I drive myself crazy. Because as I have learned, some of those plates I don’t control and eventually will crash or spin on their own no matter what I do.
The plates start wobbling, and the more I try to get one back and going, the others lose attention, and then the predictable occurs. The plates start to fall. I become more desperate, while still agonizing at what has been lost. Nothing will ever be the same, and the harder I try to keep the rest of my plates spinning, the more they seem to be out of control. I am left with sadness, and to focus on those few remaining saucers so as to not lose everything. But the world I knew and wanted seems lost forever.
Paths change, dreams are lost, goals achieved, loved ones gone, people you care for stay with you, friends save you, family runs and I am forced to look at my life and develop a new way forward. Everything changes. Understand though, that you need to change in order for things to get better. Each time is harder than the last, but I have no other choice. I have to keep going forward, no matter if I want to or not. I am not in control.
The difference here is how you deal with the adversity. How do you handle when things don’t work out as perfectly as they do in your head? For me, I embody the art of kintsukuroi. It is the Japanese custom of repairing objects that have been dropped or broken by using gold, making the piece more beautiful after it is put back together again. Most people try to put their life pieces back together again like nothing had happened. Quickly, they will see that it is impossible to go backwards, the cracks and pieces aren’t perfect fits, thus showing us that nothing can ever be the same. Instead of starting over or agonizing, the Japanese see the potential to make the broken better, showing when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.
We should all strive to be more beautiful, showing off our scars as trophies of battles won.
This really speaks to me. We need the struggle to learn who we really are, and even when we are broken it is not the end of our story. This is your chance to turn things around and just because you can’t change the beginning of your story, doesn’t mean you can’t focus on making the ending even better. But for right now, in the present, you have to focus on putting the pieces back together, knowing that it will always look close to what it was before the damage, but never the exact same. You shouldn’t ever lose your identity, but instead, take the pieces of your life that are broken and spend time looking at them and seeing how best to bring them back into one recognizable piece of art.
Be more open. Tell the truth. Express yourself more. Don’t be afraid to let people in. Don’t let your past haunt you. Live in the present. You don’t have to always be right. Argue less. Listen more. Have Faith. Understand. Be more patient. Communicate. Hold hands. Laugh uncontrollably. Be more appreciative. Be kind. Don’t be embarrassed. Accept others. Be weird. Be silly. Watch the clouds float by. Step out of your comfort zone. Slow down.
It may not be your fault that you are damaged, and even if it is, don’t ever give up. There is a plan that we don’t know, the best we can ever do is to get ourselves ready for that ending. Be the best person we can be.
What has helped me is…
Trusting my friends and talking to them, getting their perspective. But not just any friends, the true best friends that have stuck by your side during the good times and the bad times, those that really want you to succeed. They will tell you without hesitation things, that you are unwilling to believe right now.
Reading, not just to escape reality but to also to become better. I have been so surprised as I read and reread books, how the meanings have changed and help me see my path more clearly.
Writing, document your feelings, wants, desires, disappointments, and frustrations. Get it all down, and out of your system. Look hard at yourself, and know that you can only ever control yourself, and see what you could do to help never get back to the same emotional spot you were in. This is the most humbling because you have to admit to some portion of the blame.
Praying, ask God for help and guidance. You can tell Him all your problems, and He truly can help you, just on His own schedule.
Meditating, clear your mind and be ready to receive answers and process all that you have been thinking.
Forgiving, not only those that have hurt you, but forgive yourself. What has happened is in the past, you can’t go back and change it. You must learn from it, and know that if you are given a second chance that you will do things better. Also, look at the big picture, and does being hurt by something take away from what is really important?
Be humble, know your limits and don’t get upset at yourself because of those limits. Do your best, and understand that everything will always work out the way it is supposed to be.
Doing all of this helps me work to be ready in becoming the person you need to be.
I am not there yet and don’t ever assume I will ever be finished growing. The more I look deeper within my soul, I cringe at who I was. I wish that I wasn’t that way in the past, but as I was told, maybe I wasn’t ready to accept the things I needed to change. Maybe I needed to fall so that I would fully comprehend and accept that I do need to be better than I was before.
I wasn’t ready to see myself for who I really was, and that I needed all this to happen to be able to see who I could become.
I was told by someone really close to me, that they wished that I would be able to go back to who I was before everything that happened. As this statement bounced around in my head for a bit, I honestly thought to myself, why would I ever want to go back to an older version of me. A flawed version, who would be stupid enough to repeat the same mistakes. Yes, I may have been more innocent and emotionally free of the pain of being dropped, but the walls, obstacles, anguish, and issues are all part of my journey. I had flaws that I see more clearly now. The pain may have been unbearable at the time, but because of it, I have learned so much about me. I have and will continue to look at those things that I could do better, and become the most bestest version of myself. I will get back all that I like about myself, add-on aspects that I did not have before, and update parts of me that were flawed. So, I don’t want to be who I was, I want to be better!
I will be ready, whole again and more beautiful with all my cracks….