“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” – William Stafford
It’s been an interesting summer. July & August particularly so. A little like this:
Moving into Fall, I almost have to shake my head and laugh at how the plans & goals that I made and set for myself have fallen apart. I can gaze over the wreckage and clearly see that approximately 2% of what I had carefully counted on happening actually happened.
As I sit here with a massive boot on my leg due to a random Achilles strain (first real running injury ever), sustained during a “just for fun” marathon last weekend, i realize that despite my F’d up foot and the other 12 things that went sideways this summer, my personal trainwreck is honestly more like this:
And, I am okay.
Clinging to preconceived notions of how things *should* turn out, attaching oneself to specific outcomes – these are two of the best ways I know to guarantee disappointment. And yet, it has taking me all these years to finally start “getting it”. I’m 43 and just now nodding my head…”ahhhh, I get it….no attachment…..huh.” The old Erin believed that the MORE she worried and the MORE she ruminated, the less room there would be for screw-ups. Not only is that not at all accurate, it’s also not at all FUN. In fact it’s miserable.
When asked “How are you doing?” by friends and family, it seems that deep down my most honest answer would be: “Overwhelmed.” As much as I still tend to oh-so-carefully organize, list out, over-analyze and worry (my specialty), things tend to go off the rails. ALL. THE. TIME.
Such is the messiness of getting your hands dirty & truly living.
LIVING. I like it.
Can I *will* my injury better in 10 days in order to redeem myself at a 2nd 100 mile attempt, as I PLANNED – ? Maybe.
Will this be a tortuous drawn-out 3 month battle with a stubborn punk Achilles & will I watch my trail shoes begin to gather dust in the corner? god I hope not.
Fact is, I just don’t know. I am getting much much better at shrugging my shoulders at life and saying, “Hmph. Good question there. I don’t know.” Sometimes I need an extra deep breath, a pep-talk, a run, a moment of quiet meditation on the trail to get to that place of accepting pesky little MR. IDON’TKNOW.
The good news is I no longer need a bottle (or 2) of wine, an eating disorder, a dysfunctional relationship or some other form of numbing behavior in order to deal with the unknown. YES, I get overwhelmed. YES, I get grumpy and cranky and wimpy and weak and shout “WTF world?!” And then I take it outside.
It’s exhausting to constantly live in a state of hyper-vigilance, believing that if you worry enough you will be protected from the messiness. I don’t love my DNF, my injury, my flooded kitchen, my difficult family issues … but that’s my freakin’ LIFE. I’ll take it. If I never ever left room for a little trainwreck here and there, I do believe I would be missing out on a whole mess of beauty, love & unimaginable grace.
Here’s to an Autumn of letting go. Of opening your heart. Of living a life that leaves plenty of room for chance & unexpected joy.
Here’s to keeping it loose.