New Perspective, Same Old Holiday.
It's that time of year when things begin to get a little, red. A visit to your neighborhood Target it met by a barrage of giant red hearts floating form the ceiling, giant bags of candy you swear were repackaged from Halloween, and heart shaped cookies as far as your eyes dare to see. Its almost valentines day and if you hold your breath long enough cupid might actually stop by, well maybe not, but you get my point. Like every single holiday in the United States weeks before the actual day we get little reminders that turn into a full fledge assault on our subconscious. Influencers increase their selling, couples pledge their love via social media and reruns of Nicolas Sparks movies are on. And so begins the mini breakdowns.
As a single women i can honestly say that i don't get the hype, and i could care less about valentines day. For me this is a huge feat, because once upon a time valentines day haunted me the minute the new years confetti disappeared. I knew it was coming, and i feared it. i feared it because it made me feel weirdly vulnerable. Like most of the trauma in my life, it all started in college. Around valentines day the main lobby looked more like a florist shop than a college dorm lobby. Every rose bud seemed to mock me because no one ever sent me anything. Fast forward a whole lot of years later and my perspective has changed.
If there is anything i have learned through my many single years it is that fighting vulnerability (no matter how uncomfortably long it stays) will not make time pass any faster and it certainly will not make you feel any more content. As i inch closer to 35, i am happy to have learned this lesson sooner than later. I will be the first to admit that getting older changes your perspective on the trivial things that once caused so much angst. One day in an entire year no longer has any bit of control over my emotions, or my outlook on the future. Instead, i understand and accept that i am afforded the opportunity to dream of what could be, draw outside of the lines, and learn to take every moment of loneliness with stride, knowing confidently that like everything else those feelings are not permanent and seasons do change.
Nevertheless the temptation of self-pity is still a bitch (excuse my language). And aging doesn't make living in the same circumstance any easier, especially when everyone else's seasons seem to change rapidly and your still in the dead of winter. The truth is whether we openly admit it or not, no one is where they want to be. Even the most put together individual has some form of dissatisfaction, might feel like something missing, or might feel like they have something they need to work towards. As a christian i know this chronic dissatisfaction and need for perfection to be the distance we create between ourselves and God, the only one that can satisfy even the deepest longing. However life has a way of mudding that truth. Tough seasons knock us down hard, with the same hard lessons on replay. That sometimes what we hope wasn't meant to fit in our lives no matter how hard we've tried.
And with that knowledge, a new perspective. The older we get the more we have to lose. Being carefree and careless is a lot less fun when there is a mortgage, rent to pay, and a credit score to maintain. As an adult having something to lose is a privilege. It often means that you've worked hard to give yourself something to be proud of. Emotional stability, good credit, thriving relationships, overall health. These are privileges that force us to look beyond the here and now, beyond what our emotions may trick us into thinking about ourselves and our journey. We must understand and appreciate that life is continuously giving us glimpsing of spring even in the dead of winter. Long term waiting and dreaming confounds that truth. We get tricked into thinking another year has passed and nothing tangible has changed. No new relationships, weight that won't melt away, no new job offers. Life trips us up, misdirects our attention and we lose perspective. It is the same old trick that we fall for time and time again, we fall for misdirection.
Being unaware of misdirection is the real thief of joy, comparison is just its accomplice. All of the old adages about contentment and gratitude that we've all too often rolled our eyes to are actually what pulls us closer to a place of awareness, than anything temporary. Awareness provides the opposite effect of settling, and leaning into vulnerability is the only way to gain new perspective. Life then becomes a lot less about survival mode, and alot more about flourishing right where you are.