My greatest fear has always been “the unknown”.
What might happen.
I don’t know when that started, or why, I just know that I have lived with that fear for most of my 36 years.
The dark. Deep water. Not knowing what is there, beyond what I can see.
Some years ago, I heard a woman speak about fear. The debilitating power of it. And how she overcame it.
Basically, by considering the worst possible outcomes, and then recognizing what she would do if those fears ever came to fruition.
And, the thing is, none of us know, exactly, what we would do, specifically, if our worst nightmares came true. But, the fact is, we would either wake up, day after day, and face the rising sun, and deal with the painful truth of what happened or we would be dead and it wouldn’t matter to us anymore.
I know people that have experienced unthinkable tragedy. It haunts them. Will haunt them. Always.
People that have experienced trauma carry the scars for life.
But they live on. And breathe. They smile again. They laugh again. And they live.
Because they choose to.
Maybe unconsciously, or even, at times, begrudgingly. But they go on. How they choose to do so, is very much up to them. To us.
I have lived my own griefs. My own traumas. I don’t speak flippantly, or without my own experience with the kind of pain that can hit a person in the gut and knock them down for a long, long time.
The circumstances in our lives can be so beyond our control, and yet again I bring up the book selection for this month because the author talks about tenacity and not taking no for an answer but sometimes, sometimes, “no” is the harsh answer that life gives us. And, true strength and resilience of character lies in recognizing that, and moving forward. With the pain. With the disappointment. And not letting it swallow us whole.
I can ask “why?” until I’m blue in the face. I can worry about the next time life is going to throw me a curve ball. Or I can live. And live well.
Our lives are seasonal, and, certainly, there is a time for all things. For grief. For mourning what is lost. For considering the future. Remembering the past. But ultimately, the present is what matters. What we do, today, in response to both what is behind us, and what is yet to be.
Will tomorrow we be satisfied with how we handled today? That answer can only be controlled in the moment that we are currently breathing. And it’s work. It takes conscious effort to live a thoughtful, intentional life.
Yesterday has passed. The could-haves and would-have-beens are becoming less and less important to me.
Tomorrow is not promised. Its fears do not hold sway over me as they once did.
I credit therapy. And medication. And the inspiration of those who have lived through difficulty and grief and challenges I hope I never know.
I’m learning, slowly. Learning to embrace each day for how I can use it for good. To show love. To love myself. To walk toward goals, even if I never reach them.
To step out of my own head, and into the day I’m in. And live.