As I sat down to write this I knew it had been a while since I’d written something that didn’t have to do with military operations or logistics estimates. I also recognized that I’ve been rather unhappy as of late. Not because of anything anyone has done or hasn’t done, but because I felt like (and still feel like) I’ve been out of balance.
When I started this site I was (and still am) grieving. As time went on I got deeper and deeper into the grieving process, learning each step is harder than the last. For a good while I wrote every day and it made me feel better, at least for a while. But then something happened. I don’t know exactly what it was or when specifically it happened, but it happened. All of the momentum I’d gained in two years just seemed to stop.
I quit writing. I quit recording podcasts. And I quit making progress.
There are a few things that happen in this process. When you realize you’ve stopped making progress you get frustrated at yourself for losing momentum. Then you get frustrated at yourself for being frustrated. This is a vicious cycle and is difficult to recognize and even more difficult to recover from.
It’s been almost two and a half years since Layla passed away. In that time we have moved twice (will be moving again in September, thanks Army!), had another child, and I completed my master’s degree. While they’ve been a terrible two years from one side of the coin, as a family and in our marriage, we’ve become such a unit and there’s more love in our household than I could have ever imagined. I firmly believe we’ve taken what could possibly be the hardest thing a family will ever have to endure and walked through it with our heads held high and made every possible bit of progress we could hope for.
So, why am I unhappy?
Truth is, I have no idea. There’s no reason. But we all have these moments. It’s what makes us human I guess.
The other night I was watching a Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris. If you haven’t seen it I’d recommend it as a good date night movie with your spouse. In it, Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter who’s trying to break through and write his debut novel that he feels really taps into his creative side. The film is littered with characters from the 1920s such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Cole Porter. All of whom were part of the roaring twenties and the artistic boom in Paris, France.
What is often forgotten about such characters is their genius was often created out of tragedy. While not all of them suffered great loss in their lives, more did than not. We learn that human beings often thrive in times of tragedy once they get their head wrapped out it. Like all great fiction, whether it be books or films, it teaches us more about what it means to be human.
I’ve learned in the last three years that being human means you’ll have times in your life where you’re staring at the bottom of a glass, wondering if it will ever be full again.
That glass will be full again if you’re willing to put something in it.
It won’t fill itself.
Finding your balance will never be straight forward. The weights will constantly be shifting because you’re probably not going to be the same person next year as you are right now. Factors in your life will always change and how you react will also change. But in order to fill glass again and again, you have to be aware of where you are and what’s changed. Because one year you may have to fill that glass with water, the next juice, and the year after that it could be wine. Who knows?
One thing for sure, though, it’s up to you to keep filling it with what it takes to balance out.
Photo credit: Flickr/Rosmarie Voegtli