Two years ago today, I was heading into what should have been my third and final surgery for a painful abscess. Instead, I woke up out of anesthesia to the news that I received another drain – meaning three more months of pain until another surgery, followed by an additional three months of recovery.
I can still feel the disappointment in my body – how I yelled at the nurses, how I tried to pull out my IV’s.
I didn’t know I was sitting on this anniversary. All day I had been thinking about disappointment – how it comes, how to welcome it and manage it better, how to not let it crush me. Ironic.
I’m at the age where my kids are about to both be in school full time and I would naturally return to whatever career I’d had before they arrived. (Or launch into something big and important. Or something. That’s what people do, right??) People routinely ask me now if I have gone to college or if I’m planning to start now that they’ll soon be in school… Yes, and yes. Or maybe not. No one really knows.
I tried college twice. I have nothing to show for it yet. Disappointment.
I follow writers and speakers and photographers and worship leaders and fit moms and comedians… and I think, “Look at them being so successful. I want to learn at their feet.” I also want to just skip the stages of work and be in the life I dream up so often. Because really, I could do lots of things. And right now they all seem so out of reach and unclear.
I blurted to a friend earlier this week that I was just done with dreams and goals for now. Lately, they seem to only make me restless and fearful that they won’t happen. I stare at my piles of dreams and goals. I contemplate college applications. I write a few more chapters in the books I’m working on. I edit a few photos and think of interesting posts for them. I take long runs to clear my head… but I usually end this routine with restless disappointment.
How could things that have brought me such joy and purpose have such an opposite affect on me?
It is summer. I have two boys. I have two jobs. I have a husband who commutes two + hours a day for college. As I’ve said before, my things are on the back burner. And I’ve been all but okay with that. It’s one thing to post husband brag posts about how excited I am for him, it’s another thing to be in the grind of the work and the grit of the process.
It sounds more depressing than it is – to give up and give into the disappointment. I’m not going to fight it. It’s there. So what do I do with it?
If it keeps my restless, can’t keep planning for a future that feels so vague right now. I don’t know what I’m working towards. I picture myself doing so many different things. I have no direction. I feel disappointed that I’m not further down some sort of road. I feel discouraged that everything I tried hasn’t pointed me on a stronger course.
Maybe it has. Maybe I can’t see it. Or maybe it hasn’t. And that’s okay.
There’s a contended peace that comes with being okay with not planning for a while – to live in the moment and not try to push it in any sort of direction. I’ve learned I have come so far, but I still have a lot of healing and learning that needs done. I think this is my soul’s way of saying, hey, we still need to be still.
Trauma is just that way – sitting in your body until you take the time for it have its space.
Like turning on a light bulb, I realized that maybe right now I need to remember just how to BE – how to be me. Without any future label. Letting my roots dig down deep. What if I just let the ambition die down for a little bit? What if I just took some time to keep rebuilding myself?
To just let go for a while… and see what happens. I have a feeling the world will still be here.
Because right now, the present is a beautiful thing.