"Even though we think of our goals as some future state to achieve, the real goal is always the life of this moment, this moment, this moment." ~ Charlotte Beck
I have a habit of "living until." Sometimes it's a bad thing, sometimes it's a good thing, and sometimes it's just a way of creative denial that helps me survive the moment.
I used to do a lot of living until. When I was at the magazine I thought that I would work part-time from home until I got myself stronger and could be at the office full-time again. Then I decided I would go on disability but just until I figured out a better way to handle the pain, and then I would find a way to get back to work again. And then I decided I would just do freelance work until I got better... and then I realized I wasn't really living. I was setting goals for myself that were impossible to attain. I was just existing while the world kept turning because I was looking back instead of looking ahead.
During that time, I was living until because I wasn't happy with the reality that faced me. That happens, it's just a survival thing... but the problem was that a part of me stopped living altogether. I wasn't trying to find a way to make my life work as it was, I was very determined to find a way to make my life work like I wanted it to. To pull and cram and rearrange the facts to fit into a box that had fallen apart and disintegrated before I was ready to let it go.
I was joking about my denial with my friend Susie the other night because I realized that last winter, when the cold was making my bones ache, I kept thinking that if I just held on until spring it would be better. But then I got pneumonia in February and I spent the entire spring in a cycle of migraines because of the increased thunderstorms we had. So I told myself to hold on until summer. Summer would be better and I would spend every day sitting on my patio, reading and soaking in the beautiful sunshine. And then I started reacting to something in the air after the flooding in our area and I spent the entire summer trapped in my house... couldn't even open a window. So I told myself to hold on until a freeze and then I would be able to breathe. But I forgot that a freeze meant winter ... and I would be right back where I started.
Which means I spent a very hopeful and forward-thinking year trapped in my house. My ability to live in denial astounds even me. :)
I have been in a lot of pain and my body has felt generally unwell since the cold front moved in and we've had rainy, snowy weather. It's been the kind of unpleasantness where I get sick in the middle of the night for no reason... not because I have the flu or I ate something bad... just because my body can't take anymore. And today I decided I needed something to change. Something to get excited about. It has been freezing cold here more than once and I decided whatever was in the air that I've reacted to must be gone by now. I wanted to breathe fresh air even if it is raining outside. I wanted to celebrate something.
So I opened the window. And breathed in the air. And the reaction wasn't as bad as it has been... but it wasn't gone. While I wasn't gasping for air, my breathing changed. Eventually my eyes started hurting and my ears were sore and my head ached. I was starting to feel worse. And do you want to know what I did?
I left the window open for a little while longer.
Stubborn me tried to pull and cram and rearrange the facts to fit into a box again. Apparently it takes me awhile to relearn the same lesson over and over.
It doesn't mean that it won't happen eventually. But it means that it's not happening right now. And I have to remind myself that "living until" it happens doesn't work. I may keep staying put in my house. I may eventually have a day where I feel a little stronger and try to get out despite the pain or reaction. I may not get to have a choice between the two. But I'm not going to waste my time in here wishing I was out there.
I am going to keep focused on the goal of "the life of this moment, this moment, this moment." I'm going to hold onto my creative denial and hope that after enough cold weather hits whatever is left in the air will go. But I'm not going to stop living while I wait for it to happen. I'm going to focus on this moment.
However, while I'm not going to "live until" I can get out into the world again and my window is able to stay propped open... you can be sure I will shout from the rooftop when it does. :)