“But you have got to remind yourself over and over again that there are no destinations in life. Only roads.” – Christin Mihai
I am constantly reminded of how life goes exactly the opposite way of how I planned it. Life is fickle that way. Sometimes I feel like Matt Hires sings this song just for me . . .
Darling, nothing ever goes exactly how you planned it
I guess I’ve been here long enough to see
That time can be your dearest friend
Or time can be a bandit
When tomorrow changes into history
And oh my my, honey everybody dies
But you got, you got to see
That you can live your life walking in a straight line
But it’s more than just A to B
Maybe it’ll find you lying peaceful under blankets
Or bleeding at the bottom of the stairs
Oh but it’s not when or how you go
It’s life and what you make it
It’s the traveling, not the road that gets you there
-Matt Hires, A to B; see full lyrics here
I am finding that even when life doesn’t go how I planned it, it goes exactly as it was meant to. Unfortunately that is something I can only understand in hindsight. At the time I am simply frustrated. Which makes me wonder if that is why we so often we prefer to live in memories of the past, because that is the only part of our life that can make sense of.
When we are young it can be easy to forget how long life is. To us it seems short and slippery. Like we have to hold onto every second for dear life lest it slip right through our fingers and be gone forever. Time is fickle, and life never works like it should. We become discouraged, or we believe that maybe we were foolish to try. But we pray for rain even though we want sunshine, and we must allow ourselves to take steps backwards even though we want to take steps forward.
It has been a year since I was a senior about ready to graduate college, writing What to Expect When You’re Expecting . . . to Graduate
In that sense time is slippery because I cannot believe it has been a whole year already, but on the other hand what an eventful year it has been. I wrote that blog at a very crazy tumultuous time in my life. I think I finally am starting to recover from the exhaustion that was that year. Truthfully I am not sure how I survived. Did I even sleep that year? I can’t remember. I discovered that the real learning begins after we get our college diploma. Even though this past year hasn’t gone exactly how I would have planned it, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had and the lessons I learned for the life that I had planned (although actually I don’t think I really had a plan).
I have learned to be patient, and learned to accept that steps backwards are part of the process. Which is hard when I want to continually be on the move, and continually be moving forward. That is just part of who I am, which is something I have had to learn as well. The relentless drive that flows through my veins has helped get me this far in my life, and it will keep helping me get to where I need to be. I have to remind myself that this restless push forward is a blessing, when truly most days it feels like a curse. Because sometimes I feel as though there is so much I want to accomplish in this life that I must start right now or else I will run out of time.
I have learned to support myself. I don’t mean in the sense that I am buying my own groceries or that I don’t have any friends to rely on. I mean in the sense that there are some things we must simply decide and deal with on our own. I had to learn to be comfortable with myself. I had to learn trust myself when I said that I will be okay. I had to learn to trust my gut and to trust my steps. Even when my steps took me backwards.
I have learned that forgiveness is a huge part about taking steps forward. We must forgive those who hurt us and disappointed us. We think that holding on to that bitterness will prove a point to them, because we want them to hurt as much as they hurt us. When in reality holding on to the hurt only hurts us more. Holding on to that bitterness doesn’t “get the person back” who hurt you. It just causes is to spend our days wallowing in our own bitterness instead of moving on with our lives. Forgiving others is a hard concept to grasp, because it seems like there should be a magic button you push and *poof* they are forgiven. I wish it were that easy. Instead it tends to be more of a long drawn out painful process of letting go.
That being said, often the person that is the hardest to forgive is ourselves, because we should have known better. It is hard to admit that we let ourselves down, that we did what we promised we would never let ourselves do. If you hold on to that regret you will never be able to move forward. We must learn to forgive ourselves when we take steps backwards. We must learn to forgive our life for not turning out the way it should, and silence the voice in our head that says, if you only would have tried a little bit harder. The world will turn, and we must learn. Life goes on with or without us. Which is why we must choose to let go of the pain, to let go of those who hurt us, to let go of the ways we failed ourselves, and to let go of the life that should have been.
The hardest part about taking steps forward is that we are never sure where they are going to take us. It can be terrifying. It can leave us frozen, unwilling to move. I am not sure how I got here, nor I am sure where I will go next, but I do know that I will keep moving whether it be forward or backwards. Because life, my dear friends, is not about where we end up. Life is about the road we walked to get there.