And then one day, you’re not a beginner anymore. The uphill climb isn’t so uphill anymore and you look back in amazement. Day one became day two and then two became three and four. Next, your “One day at a time” function has picked up and grew legs. Suddenly, the past is not as close as it used to be, which is enough to make you realize your position in life. It’s enough to show you who you were and who you are now.
I say this is amazing.
Change can happen. We can improve. We can adapt. Even if we don’t want to adapt or accept the news of life; still, we find a way to live. Even when loss comes and the loss of a loved one is enough to become a loss of ourselves; still, we find a way to process.
The judgments improve. The haze lifts and your critical self relinquishes enough to allow for a moment in the sun. And it’s good. It’s good to allow tears to be replaced by smiles and memories of love and laughter.
It’s good to be free, especially, if it was you that held yourself prisoner.
It’s good to let go. It’s good to open your eyes and then one day, the unforgettable is unthought of and the regrettable yesterdays are less regrettable and less frequent (if at all).
There are different phases of change; whereas, the beginning comes with challenges. The switch is tough because of a routine that changed. The mind and the body have developed a pattern and all of a sudden, we changed it.
This is a shock to the system but our persistence pays off. Being consistent and moving forward allows us the ability to put time between us and the past. And it’s good.
And we grow. And we move.
There were songs that I couldn’t listen to because they reminded me of troubled times. Even the intro of a song and the opening chords were like a warning to me. I say this because I could feel the association and the change in my chemistry.
For example; there was a song playing on the radio when my little dog Roxxy (AKA: Little Snoo, AKA Roxxy the Dawg and AKA: Puppyleupagus) was sick and passed away. I was driving her to the vet, literally pleading with my dog to hold on. She was howling, as if she knew. And I suppose I knew too. Meanwhile, I can distinctly remember the song and the lyrics that played over the radio.
“Say something I’m giving up on you.”
I hate that song . . .
To this day, I will not listen to it. If I hear the song, I can literally see the sights of this day. I can list my regrets of the morning; but more, I remember when I was reduced to a child in posture at the vet’s office, crying and drooling because I felt so damned helpless.
God, I loved that dog . . .
She had me wrapped around her little paw.
I swear, she did.
Somehow, almost randomly, I heard the song played at work. It’s not that my love for Roxxy the Dawg has faded, but the intensity I felt towards the song is not the same.
Days have come between now and then, which allowed me to heal. I still have feelings. I still miss my little friend. Roxxy used to accompany me in the morning. I would head into the kitchen and Roxxy would follow me. I hit the magical blue button on my coffee machine and then head into my little office, which I called my “Writing Room.” Roxxy would lay on her side and do her little Roxxy dance in a circle. She would sniff and play and be silly for my attention. And I would write and Roxxy would lay down underneath my chair. She would be sure that a part of her body would touch my foot. And this routine of mine became trusted and heartwarming for me. This was our daily thing but when Roxxy died, my routine was not the same.
I had to learn a new path. I had to recreate a routine because part of my routine was gone. And this is change. This is life, always changing without our regard. Ah, but time, time is a savior. Time helps us heal. Even when the vacantness of a broken heart is all we see. Time allows us the space between then and now. This does not excuse loss. However, time allows us the momentum to replace thought with action and fill the voids with memory and love.
I used to hold resentments. I held them and kept them alive. I laugh about this now but I had some really terrible bosses in my life. And there were people who I swore that one day, I will have my revenge. I swore this with a fist shook to the sky.
Interestingly enough, the name of an old boss came up. And this person was mean. He allegedly stole Christmas tips that were given to him for his staff. He shook people down for money. He lied and put simply, this was not a good person.
His name came up when I saw an old coworker. There was a time when this would change my mood. More openly, there was a time that the simple mention of this person could ruin my day.
There were times when I would rehearse what I was going to say if I ever saw him again. I literally trained myself, as if it were a fire drill with steps and everything.
Do you want to know what happened?
I was buying lunch in a store near Lexington Avenue and there he was, walking by the window.
There was a time when I would have run out and confronted him. There was a time when I would have tried to fulfill all the rehearsals that went through my mind yet, none of that happened. I grew to a point where his passing was meaningless and unobjectionable. I evolved and matured to the point where the impositions of this man were no longer imposing to me. Mainly, he didn’t exist. The narratives in my mind, the self-talk and the emotional connections were healed because time allowed me to change my connection.
There comes a time when we let go. The ideas we held and the thoughts we would always think are no longer as pressing as they used to be. We mature. We grow and if we allow ourselves, we improve.
The beginning of major transformations reveal the work ahead of us. But as we grow, the work behind us pushes us forward. Suddenly our old default settings improve to a new set of standards. Our fears are no longer the same because the threats are no longer intimidating. We update our thinking and improve our data.
Lastly, I used to live across the street from an old tree. I saw this tree as a symbol. Each day, I would open the door to leave my home and there he was, my friend, The Old Tree.
No one else on the block liked this tree. But I did. The Old Tree never fell. Even when we had storms that toppled younger, more sturdy trees, The Old Tree never fell.
In the summer, The Old Tree would be partially green because some of its limbs remained empty. The neighbors wanted to take The Old Tree down. But not me.
My friend, The Old Tree, stood until its last day. No matter what people said or thought, The Old Tree never fell. I can recall an argument between neighbors that took place right in front of The Old Tree. They wanted to cut him down. But I wouldn’t let them.
This friend of mine taught me a valuable lesson. Not everyone is going to approve. Not everyone will like us. But like The Old Tree, we have to stand. We have to endure. We have to be consistent and persistent because nothing is forever. Not even resentments. And nothing is more wasteful in life than arguing, fighting, worrying or miserably existing.
There came a point where I stopped feeding the old systems of living:
To improve where I could,
And to look back and say, “Hey, that’s not me anymore.”
I can’t say that my life changes were easy.
All I can say now is that my uphill battles aren’t so uphill anymore.
Thanks to my friend, The Old Tree, I learned to stand, be consistent, be persistent and show up on a daily basis. Nothing else is more important than this.