Posts Tagged ‘perspective’

‎I spent a large portion of my weekend five minutes from your house. I was there to watch my daughter in a hockey tournament and I couldn’t help but make note of the proximity.

Five minutes.

If things were different we probably would have stopped by your place between games. If things were different you probably would have come by the arena to watch her play.

But things are the way they are, so we won’t and you won’t and that will be that.

I briefly wondered what I would do if I ran into you somewhere, in line at Tim Hortons when I picked up a tea, or at the store where we stopped ‎for water. If we were ever in the same room for five minutes, what would I say? What would you say? What would we say?

I used to think about it all the time: what happened, what went wrong, whether I should work harder to fix it but time, with its infinite wisdom, has taught me to stop asking what I can’t answer.

‎So I thought of you only briefly and sent good wishes your way because for a time you were a part of my life, a good part of my life, and for that I will always be thankful. For a time we were in step, our lives running on the same path, side by side. But no longer.

Instead we will now forever be five minutes apart.

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With one day remaining in the year, I can safely say that 2013 has not turned out the way I expected it to.  I can look back to this time last year and almost taste the anticipation I was feeling.  It was going to be a great year, filled with many wonderful things.  I expected it to be that way.

I was wrong.

Less than two weeks into the new year I knew it would not be all that I thought it would be.  It would, in fact, be barely a shadow of what I thought it would be.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and come out when the calendar no longer said 2013 but, of course, that was not a realistic way to spend 11 and a half months.

If only it were.

So I trudged along.  I made it through the rest of January, barely, and wished away February and most of March.  With the warmer weather came a small sense of relief and summer brought with it some smiles and laughter and a pat on the back that I’d made it half-way.

But my constant companion was a sense of injustice; a feeling that this was not how it was supposed to be, not any of it.  What happened to my expectations?  What happened to my year as I had imagined it to be?  What happened?

And even in my own head I sounded like a spoiled child.  Who am I to decide what is “supposed” to happen and what is not?  In the general scheme of terrible things that happen, if this thing knocked me down for a whole year, how would I ever handle something truly terrible?  On the slippery step ladder of horrible things, I was fairly close to the bottom and yet I had still managed to fall off and stay down for longer than was probably warranted.

But I couldn’t shake it.  I couldn’t shake the sense that I was on a completely different path than where I should have been.  As I checked off the days and the months crawled by I just wanted to make it through the year, as though it was the actual number 2013 staring back at me that was keeping me from moving on in any meaningful way.

I have spent almost an entire year feeling like a mistake was made; like my original year had been so nicely written out, only to be erased like words on a piece of paper, still faint enough to read if you look closely.  And instead of writing something new on top, I have spent months staring at the paper, squinting my eyes to try and gain a glimpse of what was there before.

And now, finally, I have reached a point where I’m tired of looking at something that isn’t there, tired of squinting and imagining and creating something from nothing.  It has taken me a whole year to get here.  A whole year to realize that the things that happen to us are bad enough without adding them the weight of unfulfilled expectations.

How often do we expect things and are then disappointed when they don’t happen?  I expected this year to turn out differently.  I expected him to respond differently.  I expected to feel differently.  What if I stopped expecting things and just dealt with them as they came?  What if I just felt the emotions as they came, without first having to debate whether they are what I expected them to be?  How much of a relief would it be to just take away that step entirely? What would that year look like in comparison to this?  If I stop measuring everything against what I expected, will I also then stop coming up short?

There is a sweet little movie called The Odd Life of Timothy Green that came out last year.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out, I would recommend that you do. In the movie there is one particular line that has stuck with me, and which now resonates even more than before.  On Timothy’s first day of school, his parents drop him off and after saying goodbye, his dad yells for him to “have a great day” and his mom says “that’s too much pressure!”  His dad then corrects himself and yells to Timothy to “have the day you have.”

Have the day you have.

How simple it seems when you put it that way.

How complicated I seem to have made things, and how I now crave the blissful simplicity of living a life free from unmet expectations.

So, as I sit on the cusp of a fresh start, both according to the calendar on the wall and also a feeling deep inside, I will not wish you a great new year.  Rather I will encourage you to have the year you have.

And I am excited to try to do the same.

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I can see it, just outside every window and at the corner of every thought. Sometimes it does a good job of hiding itself and I go days without a glimpse. Other times it is right there, adding hollowness to every laugh and breath to every sigh.

It is the other path; the one that was supposed to be.

I have spent so much time trying to find a way to reach it; it seems so close but the short distance is insurmountable. It’s like we are running on two rails on the train tracks, close enough that I could lean over and almost graze it with my fingers, but all the while realizing the two rails are never destined to actually meet.

It is the path of what might have been, and as much as my mind appreciates that living a life of “what-if’s” is dangerous, my heart just can’t help itself. It’s not that I think the other path would be any less difficult, any less painful, any more full of contentment than the one I am currently on. I know that each path brings its own challenges, obligations and gifts.

It’s just that I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m supposed to be over there instead.

Supposed to be.

That phrase runs over and over in my head.

It’s not supposed to be like this; it’s supposed to be different.

I know I’m not doing myself any favours, thinking this way. I know there are things in life that can’t be changed; that the path I’m on is a pretty great one and the grass is actually pretty green, here on this side of the fence.

But sometimes I don’t want to be realistic. I don’t want to be reasonable or rational or practical or sensible.

I just want to take some time to imagine what life would be like over there.

Over there where I’m supposed to be.

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