Eyes Wide Open (K.Blais)

I turned 39 over the Christmas break. It wasn’t a huge monumental occasion or anything like that, but it did give me a reason to pause for a moment and think about life so far. I’ve learned a lot in my 39 years.  Probably though, I believe that I have learned more in the last 12 than in the previous 27. 

As a child, teenager, and even young adult I believe that I, in some ways, coasted through life a bit oblivious, unaware, and sometimes with my eyes closed. I had a loving and innocent childhood. I led a somewhat sheltered life, but I don’t see anything wrong with being sheltered as a child. As a teen and young adult I attended a great university, obtained three degrees with honours, and got a job in a fulfilling career field. I got married and began a comfortable life with my husband and friend. 

I grew up believing that people are generally good and want to help others. The times in my life where this was proven completely inaccurate (at least by some) were shocking and devastating to me. Betrayals, lies, injustices, and the like shook me to my core in those early days of my ‘awakening’. I quickly came to realize that not all people are good and not all people want to help others. For some this may have been common knowledge, but for me it was as if my eyes were opened wider than they had ever been. 

Twelve years ago, just about the time when I had my son and started a family, I began to realize that not everyone wants what’s best for others. Many want what’s best for them. This was a foreign concept to me in certain ways. I still struggle with understanding it to some degree as I grew up believing that if we want what’s best for everyone then what’s best for us will naturally fall into place. 

Sometimes your childhood beliefs are the hardest ones to adjust. 

In all actuality I haven’t changed that thinking entirely. I still believe that when everyone benefits we all win. I still believe that most people are good and that most people want what’s best for us, at least in my world (I hope) they do. 

But, when we encounter those individuals who are out for number one only, who take and take and take and seldom give back, who chastise and criticize us for their own shortcomings, and who look to hurt rather than to help then maybe it’s time to clean house, to take out the trash, and to burn the bridge. 

I believe in giving everyone a fair chance, but I also believe that there are times when we need to rely on our own common sense and intuition. There are times when we need to use our God-given intelligence and realize when enough is enough. There are times when we need to see those who really love us and those who only love what we do for them.

Unfortunately, it is often in our time of need, when we are at our lowest points, when we look to those individuals that we thought were our closest allies and friends, that we are brought back to reality. Sometimes we are disappointed, perhaps even shocked, by their inability to be there for us. These are the times when we need to have our eyes wide open to the individuals whom we choose to allow (and who we choose to allow to remain) in our lives. We need to ask ourselves whether the people who take the most time, energy, and love from us will actually give the same in return. 

The rest of our lives lie stretched out in front of us like an open road, whether we are 39, 59, or 79. At any age, at any stage, and in any situation maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on what we see in our lives at this point and if who we have in our lives is a positive reflection of who we are and what we hope to achieve. If we have uncertainties about those things and people maybe it’s time to ask questions and to see what the responses are. We may not always like the answers, but the questions will always be worth asking. 

Maybe it’s better to have our eyes wide open sooner, rather than later. 

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Life (K.Blais)

I’m finally sitting down after a long day of work and an evening of conferences. Beside me sits an exceptionally yummy glass of wine. My laptop is in front of me, and once again, because of my busy, crazy, hectic week, I have not even considered a blog topic.

It’s starting to become a bad habit, I suppose, this ‘allowing the week to get away on me and Thursday evening arriving with no topic in mind’. But, that’s what life does, doesn’t it? It gets away on you.

Sometimes I wish I could tether ‘life’ down, maybe like a dog on a lead. I wish I could teach ‘life’ to sit, to heel, and to obey my simple commands. Wouldn’t it be nice if ‘life’ simply did what we told it to?

If ‘life’ would only ‘listen’ to us, wouldn’t things be a lot easier?

Unfortunately, we are not always in control of what ‘life’ hands us. Sometimes we are dealt a crappy hand and we must somehow stumble through the round, hoping for a better deal next time.

Sometimes ‘life’ allows time to get away on us too and we are rushed and stressed because of our lack of time to get things done and to accomplish what we need to.

We may even feel like we are sailing through the sea of ‘life’ on a good and even course, only to hit a storm which sends our sails crashing down.

In other cases, we are a continuous train wreck – one so bad that we cannot even look away ourselves from the disaster which ‘life’ has allowed us to become.

One of the biggest smacks in the face that ‘life’ can give us, though, is disappointment. Am I wrong?

Disappointment comes in many forms – we can be disappointed in situations, things which we really wanted to see happen or not happen. A perfect example – many of us were extremely disappointed when our local ski hill closed down. No one wanted it to go – especially not my family who can see the hill from our backyard and who had just started skiing and snowboarding last winter.

We can be disappointed in people, friends or loved ones who may have let us down, betrayed us, or hurt us in some other way. Perhaps their behavior was out of negligence or intention – disappointment can wreak havoc on friendships and relationships. It is often hard to face those who have disappointed us, or who we have disappointed ourselves. Forgiveness is possible, but it takes time.

There is also personal disappointment. This is often the one which is the hardest to overcome for when we disappoint ourselves it is extremely hard to reach the point where we are able to forgive ourselves after. When we make the wrong choices and realize it after-the-fact, it is hard to “right things” and forgive ourselves.

‘Life’ isn’t always fair; it doesn’t play equally or on equal ground. ‘Life’ will stab in you the back as soon as you look away and, some days, ‘life’ will sooner spit in your face than say hello.

But…

Life can also be beautiful and good. For in all the negativity that life can bring, it also brings learning lessons and opportunities for growth. There are realizations which we can come to about ourselves and about others through the lessons that life gives. We can learn to prioritize and to place what is most important first, knowing that the rest (like blog topics) will fall into place. We can learn to love deeply and to care passionately about the people and things that matter to us and to let the rest go. We can acknowledge that life will have its ups and downs, but we can take each one for what it is and we can move forward into a new day.

Life is what you make it.