A few weekends ago I got thinking: It’s amazing how sometimes in life you get more than you bargained for. Some days, you might feel as though you’re in complete control of your present – your ‘here and now’. You have all your ducks lined up in order and you are conscious of all your next steps. But then, something happens that throws you off, and all of a sudden, everything you set out to do or planned, either ends up on the back-burner or destroyed all together. It just goes to show, you can never be too prepared when it comes to life.
John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." I guess he wasn't kidding. When we plan our lives, we create it in our view of perfection. We take steps, measures and precautions to ensure that by the end of the journey, we’ll feel the least amount of hurt as a result of those around us. We build bridges to those who make us feel loved, strong and happy, while creating walls, closing us away from those who make us feel pain, hurt and anger.
In some cases it’s a defense mechanism, but for others, it’s just the way they’re built. Some are born with the ability to compartmentalize and disconnect emotions from reality, while others need to learn the techniques along the way.
But what are we to do when someone builds their own bridge to you, sneaks past the wall when you’re not paying attention, and ends up hurting you anyway? Or, what are we to do when we don’t build bridges leading us towards the ones who will undoubtedly make our lives better?
I guess, that’s the ‘life’ part, isn’t it? You can’t really ever know these things, or when they will happen. It’s the risks and gambles we have to take when we play the game.
Sometimes the risks we take come at far greater prices than we bargained for… but we take them anyway, because we think, “Let’s live a little and make this journey a bit more interesting...” And because it’s a risk, we know from the beginning that the outcome can end up in one of two ways. But isn’t it funny how we’re never prepared for the negative one?
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said that people come into our lives with purpose. In knowing them in time and place, we are forever left changed. And this change can be for better or worse… and we usually don’t figure this out until it happens.
But I suppose the point is to embrace it all – the goodness, the negativity, the pain, the happiness, the anger – all of it, in hopes that we can grow and understand a little more of ourselves, through the experience.
Life is an ongoing journey, and it’s not always a steadily positive one. Sometimes it’s pretty accurate to say, “Life just sucks!”
But the point is that if we can get through the experience, for better or worse, and come out on the other end (which, we usually do – give or take a few scars and bruises), we can grow in understanding that this is what it means to truly feel alive. That, despite the walls around us, or the bridges to our support systems, we can allow ourselves to feel pure happiness, pain, joy and sadness, and still be OK.
The only goal is to ensure that we don’t become slaves to our feelings, and let them run our lives. Because when that happens, we’re not living for ourselves… we’re living for those who ignited the feelings in us. And doing that, well that would really make life suck!