mental health, perspective

Just 11 Days

It was the wee hours of the morning. 4:00 am to be exact. The loneliness set in. My partner in crime was whisked away yet again for 11 days. These days seem manageable in isolation yet in combination lies the challenge. 

The void that lingers. 11 days. 22 days. 33 days. When a year passes and you miss far more days than you have the sadness sets in. How much was missed? How much made the cut? Was it enough? Some weeks it’s a Monday that you feel the toll in life hit. Other weeks the sleepless worry hits on Tuesday. Sometimes it hits more than one day. It’s a vicious cycle.

Sometimes life puts obstacles or signals in your path to test your strength: to test your resilience. Sometimes these barriers seem impossible yet we find a way to push onward. I’m in the midst of reading the latest royal book, Spare. It’s odd to think about the word spare in the context of the book. A spare child. A spare heir. A spare to discard. No matter how many pages deep I am in the book, I will be forever held up by the word spare.

My life doesn’t have spares. I don’t have spare kids. I don’t have spare friends. I don’t have spare time with either. I don’t spare any part of my life. That means the time I miss can’t be spared at all. Oh the quandary of that latter statement.

How do you count time when you can’t spare time? You don’t. You wander through empty space as if time wasn’t associated. A wading of sorts. You are there but not really there. The shell of you is present but the mind space has drifted somewhat to a space in time that is all-inclusive of your special people. Drifting or wading through memories of past and memories to come in the future.

The book speaks to losing a mum. I have a mum. A mummy. A mommy. I certainly don’t have a spare mommy and I am certainly not a spare to my kids. Rather I’m present just like my mom. No matter the challenge I’m there. No matter the challenge she is there. But one day will Mommy always be there? The sad reality is no. For now I won’t spare my time as mummy or with mummy for it is valued. For those of you who don’t have that opportunity with your mum, my heart hurts for you.

With grief many occupy head space with memories of those lost but not forgotten. Sometimes that includes a mom. I reflect on this as a mom I know lost her battle with cancer this week. Her time wasn’t spared. 

Many include the missing in future plans honoring their memories. Holding on to the happy times together. I do this often. My nephew. My dad. My good friends. Those gone too soon due to death, but there are others who leave for other reasons. Maybe a big move to a new city. Maybe an experience of a lifetime overseas. Maybe even a work obligation causing one to live elsewhere temporarily. Time away. A void that may never be replaced.

I may lose 11 days today. 22 days the next cycle or 33 the next round. What makes this particular trek difficult is the unknown. How long does time sit in this stage. Does it continue for infinity as it does with one who dies? Does it keep looping in terms of days or weeks as it does now? I can’t stay lost in the empty space of consciousness. I must shift.

As 2023 rounded the corner I shifted from the dullness of being lonely to a new mindset of lonely. One that isn’t perfectly designed as I’m in it. I’m just more aware. I’m conscious within the subconscious. I’m trucking through new obstacles in a different way. I’m not sparing time as time can’t be spared. People can’t be spared. Those important will never be spare at all. I’m valuing the front and center and focusing less on the loss(es). 

None of us can reverse time. None of us can spare or bank time. Every week I will be present in my own little ways. Avoiding spare time. Spare people. Forging ahead on borrowed time. If there is such a thing.

working women

Gains

Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.

If we never take risks in life we may miss out on big rewards. On the flip side instead of rewards we could belly flop if we take the wrong risk. This is the life of an entrepreneur.

Those who risk it all for something but know nothing may be the end result. Those who bank on their own instincts and gut. Those who drive their own path without hesitation.

Today I gained.

Yesterday I lost.

The net result of the year was positive. Will next year be a high or low? What will I need to do in 2023 to rebuild, reinvest, or refocus my priorities? The ever changing landscape, I call life.

Buying.

Selling.

Upgrading.

Repurposing.

Shuffling.

Juggling.

I think multitasking is engrained in my soul. Tomorrow’s dream has now become today’s reality. Yesterday is now a history lesson. The horizon shows promise yet I’m unsure of my direct path. The curiosity. The chaos. The calm. The storm. The can’ts. Then the cans. Then the wills. Then the now.

It’s time to go beyond. Time to find what’s still achievable. Time to discover new limits. Off I go to live my next adventure.

challenges, change

Bravery and Courage

She is a brave girl.

She is a smart girl.

She is lost without her male role models.

She lost one to death. 

She lost one to a girl.

She lost one to the military.

Each taken without warning.

Each situation left a scar.

A pandemic hit and a new loneliness surfaced. A quiet and new normal that included loneliness and suffering no one ever could have prepared you for. Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Rules. Masks. It all came at once. Then death hit. Then separation of a new kind. And then the final take away. All strong male figures in her life. Uprooted. Gone. Without notice. Taken from her. She wants to know why!

She shows bravery and courage every day she tackles the world around her. Making strides while battling her own why me? She is a warrior in my eyes. A diamond among us all. We should all be so blessed to know her and her strength.

She has to fight in order to shine bright on her own. Such a young age to learn such life lessons. Taken. Gone. Stolen.

How can I ever fill the void of these three men? In honor of of International Women’s Day I tip my hat to all of the strong females fighting for themselves each and every day. 

challenges, perspective

A Life Cut Short

Recently, someone in my daughter’s close friend group experienced a great loss. A tragic accident. A death, completely unexpected. Not his fault. A shock out of the blue.

I had met this young man a couple of times. I have photos of him, since he was in the group for my daughter’s high school dances. I had been introduced to him once. Still, such a sudden loss makes every parent in the community shudder.

My kids laugh at them when I tell them to be safe. Don’t drink (and if you do, don’t drive). Don’t do drugs. Stay alert. Make good choices. Check in when you get there. Leave early. Slow down. Assume everyone else is drunk or not paying attention. This young man probably followed every single one of these rules and still, he is gone.

In most cases, you may not know the last words you’ll say to a person. A loved one. A friend. Every time they leave you, every time you hang up, every time you text it could be the last time. Stop and think of the people who mean the most to you. How have you left it with them? Yes, right now. Today. Sure, saying “I love you” to a friend all the time may seem foolish. Maybe you just aren’t that way. But how can you leave things so that you’d be content with those being your last words with them? Think about it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know what they mean to you?

Memento Mori. One of the tenets of stoicism. Remember your death. To some this might seem morbid. Too heavy. Honestly, it is useful for me. It means pay attention to what matters. Keep your shit in order. Don’t drown in the trifling details. Don’t waste time on petty arguments or people who are just not meant for you. Invest in what is meaningful. All you have is now. Don’t waste it.

I watched the beautiful slide show for this 20 year old young man. I saw his smiles. His family vacations. Trips to the university his family loved. The dinners with friends. The light in his eyes when he looked at my daughter’s friend. I wept for him and what everyone who loved him lost. All the dreams that would go unfulfilled. The awful anniversaries that would come over and over and over again. I wept for the life cut short.

Do the important things now. Make a list. Start checking it off. Do them with the people who matter to you. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Not fun to think about. But let that motivate you to embrace life NOW. Not next year. Not when you have more time. NOW. Live big. Love well. Embrace life.

Now.

adventure

Tennis Flop

I had a match to play on a Friday night after a long weekend with my partner. It was a little cooler outside than normal and it was late. I wasn’t really sure if I needed pants or a skirt. Long sleeve or short sleeve. The evening seemed so wishy washy.

I started dressed in layers. I slowly peeled them off. One cheerleader arrived. Then two. Then three. Then four or five. It was overwhelming in a way but good in another. So many folks came to cheer us on. The unfortunate part was we were doing awful. A comedy of errors was leading to poor performance. 

Down by one. By two. By three. Four. Five. And then it was 6-0. Just like that we lost the round. We were stomping our feet. There were some chuckles. Some apologies. Some cursing. Some blaming. Some frustration. Some smack talking. It was still a game so onto round two we go.

It was a bit closer but we just couldn’t seal the deal. Deuce. Add out. Deuce. Add in. Deuce. Down by one. Down by two. Get it together ladies was the theme of the evening. More uh oh moments. More you should have hit that. More why didn’t you move fast enough. Is this really happening? Four to zero. Five to zero. Let’s get this one.

We ended the day with another 6-0 finish. The goose egg. The other team skunked us 6-0 and 6-0.  I am sure it’s a first for me not to have earned a point but as you can see above I still laughed hard. A deep belly laugh. No matter how down in the dumps you are performance wise, you can still laugh it off and be light hearted.
We had so much fun sucking today. We let our friends see us at our worst. We will hit the repeat button again tomorrow as we saddle up for a new match on the same court. Will history repeat itself? I hope not. If it does, I guess I’ll have to take another walk of shame.

Losing is part of competing. Losing gives you a taste of humble pie. Losing gives you opportunity to grow. Learning lessons about loss is important. Every true athlete knows this. In the moment and after the sting subsides. The work starts again. Train harder. Think smarter. Challenge yourself. 

It’s even funnier to lose when you realized you signed up a level higher than you should have. I guess one will see if we can get better playing at a higher level even if a lot prematurely. I have grown to love tennis. It’s an easy way to get some exercise. It has the competition element. It’s fun with friends. It’s cool shoes and cute skirts some days too. 

Speaking of days…enjoy yours!