Sometimes I wonder if the sun ever misses the moon. In the rare moments where they meet or glance at one another from across the world, do they know how much time will pass before they meet again? Do they care? Or do they celebrate both their meeting and their divide without feeling sorrow in the time and space between them? I hope they do, and I hope I learn something from them.
Because my first thought in a moment that I recognize as fleetings is never celebration – it’s immediate longing. And as time passes and I come closer to the end of the season I’ve been living in for so long, I’m filled with an insurmountable longing that I can’t seem to shake, even though I know it’s a longing for things that haven’t happened yet. I feel myself missing moments and people and experiences despite the fact that they’re not gone. But the idea that someday they will be is too much for me to simply push to the side. And I know nobody wants to talk about it. But the incessant denial is only putting this feeling at a higher regard. It’s giving it the power it needs to grow rather than the care it needs to heal. It’s like ignoring weeds in a garden and expecting them to go away instead of sitting in the uncomfortable heat for long enough to just dig the damn weeds out.
And the truth is, I am both saddened and terrified at the thought of change. But when I think about the sun and the moon and the rhythm of the earth, I am comforted in knowing that nothing is meant to stay sedentary for too long and change always leads to a beautiful and natural evolution. I don’t think the sun ever misses the moon because it knows that in due time they will meet again. This is a lesson the earth teaches us time and time again and I am doing my best to learn it: that no matter the discomfort from growth and change, everything will work itself out in due time and just like the wonder that comes from the stars at night and the beauty that is revealed in the light of day, it doesn’t matter what you’re missing because something great is being experienced it its place.
I remember specific moments where my life had changed. The minute I bought that plane ticket to go halfway across the world; the time I chased a dream despite the many obstacles in my way; the moment I kissed that boy knowing the only two possible outcomes were happiness or heartache. I knew. In every moment I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that life would never go according to plan, and no matter how much you try to bribe your way into a better outcome, the dice have already been rolled and there’s nothing you can do but play the cards you have. I knew that they were course-altering moments and if I were in a movie, they would be the scenes that can be identified by a change in music, forcing the audience to feel one way or another. I knew.
I knew that in all the emotions I could have felt in every moment that my life had changed, the only one that pounded its way across my head, knocking into my skull time and time again to make itself known, was fear. It wasn’t the type of fear that held me back – binded at the wrists and ready to succumb to the innevitable outcome that I had no choice but to follow. Nor was it the fear that boiled my blood and left adrenaline coursing through my veins like a drug that couldn’t be stopped. It was a different kind of fear. It was fear that caused my heart to pound just a beat too fast and my mind to quiet like the world around me as it focused only on the moment I was in. It was the feeling you get when you explore a new place on your own – afraid of what could happen but curious and thrilled at the possibilities ahead. It was the moment on the track just before the gun is shot; the intensity of the musician as the conductor lifts their arms; the readiness of the actor as the curtains open in front of them. In every moment there was fear, but it was the fear of the beginning that puts everything else into action. I knew.
I knew that this fear, while not blinding or adrenaline-inducing, was one I would come to know and love because it meant my life was moving forward. While I never knew if that direction was one that would end in a triumphant roar of the audience or a defeated fall on my knees, what I did know is that I would be better off because of it. The victory would inspire me to go even further while the defeat would teach me to hold my head a little higher.
I have learned not to be afraid of being afraid – an irony that took me more time to learn than I’d like to admit. My mind has been trained into understanding that the greatest type of fear is the one you feel just moments before a change; moments before you push past the comfort zone you once set for yourself and fly into a new territory that has been waiting to be explored by you. Because the only two reasons that you can be uncomfortable with where your life is at is because you’re either staying in your comfort zone where you don’t belong, or you’re pushing past it where you’re not used to. And I would rather feel the fear of moving forward than experience the loss of standing still, and this is something I know.
I’m not sure what’s in the air lately, but I have a lot of friends who are going through the most extreme parts of life and experiencing things in highs and lows with no middle ground. Be it marriage or heartbreak, love or loss, loneliness or fulfillment, everyone I know seems to be experiencing so much. Once is a coincidence. Twice is a coincidence. But three times is a pattern. And this summer seems to have a pattern of extreme emotions.
I love to listen to podcasts to hear what other people have to say about life. One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is called “Ladies Who Lunch” (LWL) and while they’re no longer recording anything, I still listen to their old episodes somewhat frequently. A few weeks ago while I was donating plasma I turned on one of their episodes in which they talked about moving on and letting go and, while they said a lot of really great things, there was one thing in particular that stood out to me. They got a letter from someone whose father had passed away less than a week before, and the person in the letter was asking how they can move on from the hurt they were feeling. LWL gave the typical responses of surrounding yourself with friends and family who love you, doing things to keep yourself busy, etc. But after giving all of those suggestions they stopped for a second to let the person know that it’s okay to simply feel, and something about that really resonated with me.
Throughout the summer as I’ve watched my friends go through all different emotions (or even experienced them myself) I’ve noticed how we’re always trying to move on to the next emotion. If we’re sad, we want to stop being sad and feel something else. If we’re happy, we’re questioning our happiness and anticipating something else. Very rarely (particularly in moments of negative emotions) do we just let ourselves feel. I think this lack of accepting our emotions is another byproduct of our need to constantly desire more. But I also think it’s time for that to change.
If you’re sad, be sad. Let yourself feel. Let yourself hurt. Go through the motions and roll with the punches. I’m not saying you should wallow in self pity and go about life feeling miserable forever, but what I am saying is that sometimes it’s harder to move on from an emotion if you don’t fully understand what you’re feeling. Get comfortable with the pain so you know how to work through it. When you break a bone, you don’t just ignore it and hope it works itself out. You straighten the bone and look at x-rays and wrap it up in bandages and casts which will be full of pain and annoyance but by doing this, you’re understanding the injury so you can enhance the healing. You have to allow yourself to feel your hurt to understand it, and once you understand it you can heal from it.
The same goes for positive emotions. Stop questioning the way you’re feeling. Stop thinking the higher you go, the further you fall. Stop falling in love only thinking about the potential heartbreak. Stop feeling joy only thinking about the potential sorrow. Let yourself feel good. Even if the worst thing happens, at least you were able to truly enjoy some of the best parts of life.
We need to stop fighting things. Time is always on your side and it will keep moving even when you think you can’t, so it’s high time you just roll with the punches and enjoy the ride.
While I was driving home the other day from my cousins graduation party, I had one of the most blissful moments I think I’ve had in a long time. I was driving, and on my left were mostly blue skies with pink clouds scattered here and there, and to my right was the Western Sunset glowing orange and gray, emanating with the potential of a storm. I could see the rain falling in the distance as a storm was coming closer, and all I wanted to do was sit and watch as the storm drew near. I continued to drive until I found the first spot available to pull my car over so I could sit and revel in the beauty that surrounded me.
As I sat and watched only for a minute or two as the colors changed and the rain expanded from the small spot it was originally falling, I couldn’t help but feel mystified at the beauty of all that was around me. It was so amazing, and I wish a description or picture could do it justice, but it can’t. I began to think about how sometimes the world acts a lot like the way this moment felt – beautiful before wreaking havoc. Like, right when we’re in our highest moments in life and things are the most beautiful, it only takes a second for them to fall apart. That sounds a lot more negative than I mean it to, but I think it’s something we’re all used to experiencing – it’s just the highs and lows of life.
But even if they do fall apart, and even if things go downhill and we’re left at the bottom feeling numb and broken, I think it’s important to take a moment to appreciate the right now. We get so worried about the bad things that could come next that we forget to enjoy the good things are happening right in front of us. It could have been really easy for me to look into the distance and ignore the beauty of the changing colors all around me and focus only on the rain that was about to come. I could have gotten so captivated by the lightning or the impending storm that I didn’t even begin to think about how beautiful everything actually was, but I didn’t. There are times in our lives where I think we begin to get scared about being happy. It’s like we understand the concept of the ups and downs in life, and we know that the higher we get the further we fall. But I don’t believe anticipating the fall makes it any less scary, I think it just takes away from the thrill of the climb.
Just sit back, put your hands up, and enjoy the ride – every moment of it.