If anyone says life is easy they are lying. However, if anyone tells you there isn’t joy to be found they are missing a great deal in their journey. It’s been a year since I’ve finished anything I’ve started writing. It isn’t that I haven’t had time to write. I just haven’t had very uplifting thoughts to share and in all honesty, if nothing good is coming out of my mouth I am always going to try to follow the age-old adage of keeping my lips sealed. I have been walking a pretty twisty path and while marriage and children don’t represent a new concept; it seems there are no tried and true guidelines to apply in broad strokes. I can say that in the past five years I have felt extreme and overwhelming emotions that were suffocating, liberating, and humbling. The result is a 35-year-old who is, to quote Garth Brooks, “much too young to feel this damn old”. If that doesn’t sum it up J.R.R. Tolkien does,
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
So how in the world is any of this positive or uplifting?! Well one bizarre thing I’ve learned is emotions are like enzymes in the great big stomach of life. They don’t control life. They simply help us break life into fragments we can digest. They are consumables. They have a shelf-life and are replaced by new emotions as they get digested. Over the years I’ve tried to hold tight to different emotions and freeze everything just the way it is or change everything based on those feelings instead of letting them flow through me and do their job. When I look at emotions as temporary at best I’m reminded of the life of a butterfly and how fleeting each phase of metamorphosis is. Every emotion including joy comes to us like the unconventional beauty of a butterfly. The ever illusive joy in life doesn’t always spring from well-known places nor does it tend to permanently reside in one place. Our ability to live and consume each moment for what it is, a moment, and move on to the next moment untethered by the last gives us the clarity needed to recognize the beauty of that ever illusive butterfly weaving its way through every experience throughout our lives.
To put it simply, the quickest way to unhappiness is to bind ourselves to feelings and expectations. Set beautiful goals but when they aren’t what you reach, take a deep breath and look for the beauty in where you’re at. If you can’t see it; take a deep breath anyway. You’re just around the corner from it.