Hi there, friends! As you may have noticed it’s been rather quiet over here at Beard + Bloom for the past couple of weeks. Life has been moving at lightning speed this month and has left us little time for writing – or diving into any of our creative outlets at all, really.
It’s not often that we get too deep or personal on this tiny online space of ours, but I think it’s important to every now and again, and today feels like the right time to do so. Yes, life’s been moving quickly, but at the same time, up until the last day or so, it’s been moving so painstakingly slow.
Flipping the calendar over to October back on the first of the month took a lot of willpower. Most years, I’m excited to turn the page and welcome in this beautiful month – as it signals the start of my favorite season and all that comes with it.
This year though, as I removed our entryway calendar from its hook and grabbed the corner of September in preparation to turn it over, I was filled with a sense of dread. The twelve, tiny pages felt almost too heavy to hold, and I stared at September for several moments, motionless. Couldn’t I just tack on a few extra days to this month instead? Or perhaps leaving the calendars in our home unturned for just awhile longer, stuck on a month that treated us rather well overall, would have the power to keep the comfort and routine of our daily lives in place?
With a deep and shaky breath, I made the flip, and situated the first of several calendars in our home back on the wall. It was with this same heaviness that I moved from room to room, sullenly putting September to rest.
Every month has the potential to bring with it both joy and devastation. We never really know what’s in store for us as we welcome in each new period of time, each new day. Yet, in the weeks and months leading up to this October, I had been warned of, and knew for certain about, a few potential upsets that would likely come with it. Forgive my vagueness, but for the sake of others’ privacy at this time, I’ll leave it at this: I’d been preparing for the death of a loved one, the ending of a significant relationship, an unavoidable financial hardship, and an intense extracurricular schedule at month’s end that caused me to feel exhausted just looking at it.
To put it bluntly, I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I was distraught and depressed about all of these potential changes and upsets in my otherwise “normal” and “boring” and “routine” life. I felt like they were all I had to look forward to in October, and that they would set the stage for the entire month.
“Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”
We’re seventeen days in now, and none of them have happened. On the contrary, a whole different slew of unexpected upsets has taken place, and along with those, a host of very pleasant and unexpected surprises, too. And I’m still standing. Coping. Surviving. In some respects, celebrating.
I have no idea what else October has in store. It could very well still present all of the sorrows I was so dreading as I dejectedly welcomed it in.
And it very well may not.
It has taken me several weeks to work through this intense state of fear and anxiety about what’s to come. While I’ve experienced it short-term – worrying over a specific day or event – this is the first time I’ve ever been so petrified of an entire month. Waiting on the call or the knock at the door that would bring with it bad news and heartbreak. Worrying about future regrets I might or might not have. Anticipating the stretches of days that I’m not sure I can make it through without breaking down from sheer fatigue.
It’s no way to live.
Through some inner-reflection, time spent with those I love, and some lengthy, heartfelt conversations over the course of the past week, I’ve had a series of mini-breakthroughs that have me in a much better place today.
The conclusions I’ve drawn are the same as so many who have drawn them long before me, yet, as with so many things in life, they truly clicked and held by my coming to them on my own, in my own time.
“What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.”
– Rubeus Hagrid
We can’t fully prepare ourselves for anything in this life. We shouldn’t spend our days “preparing” for future heartbreak, because the only thing that’s certain about tragedy is that it will never happen when we expect it to or how we expect it to. The universe won’t allow us to pencil life’s most devastating moments into our schedules; it doesn’t work that way.
We can’t continuously play out how we’ll react to a hardship, or how we’ll get through it when the time comes, because how we respond and how we get through depend on so many ever-changing factors that we cannot possibly foresee.
Fretting over and preparing for the worst is wasted time.
What we can do, here and now and always, is live fully and passionately in the present. All we have is time, and the ability to decide how we spend it. I don’t have a formula for the best way to spend the hours in our days; I’m not going to preach the idea of saying “Yes!” more often or “No.” more often to new experiences and invitations, and I can’t speak on what actions will leave you feeling fulfilled and sans regrets months and years from now.
It’s important to have dreams and goals and visions and plans for the future, certainly, but it’s how we live and what we do in the present that will help us to achieve them. Worrying about the obstacles and the disappointments that may lie ahead will only trip us up and take away from the progress and joy we could be experiencing, the memories we could be making, in this very moment.
If we throw ourselves into whatever it is that brings us happiness – into time spent with those we love, into caring for ourselves, into connecting with the life in and around us as it’s happening – worry and regret are far less likely to follow us into the future.
And by living in the moment, it’s so much easier to welcome in the next day, the next week, the next month, graciously – with an open heart and a peaceful mind.