Yesterday had so much potential. The morning rain storm was quickly blown away and replaced by the kind of blustery-blue-skied autumn day that Nova Scotia is known for. My husband was off work, the kids and I were home. We ran errands and bought pots of fall flowers and played t-ball in the backyard and yet, it just… sucked.
It was one of those days, you know? When your skin is crawling and everything everyone says either grates on your nerves or insults your very being.
My two year old was not her happy, sweet self, she was cranky and whiny and clingy. I got after the kids and snapped at my husband and finally when they went outside to play, I turned on the shower, made it as hot as I could stand and washed away all the frustration and stress. By the time I was finished, my husband had to leave for his evening class and it was time to start cooking supper. The day that was filled with potential had been a bust.
This morning, after the kids were at daycare and before Steve went to work and I went to school, we went for a hard rough run in the woods. There were puddles and rocks to jump around and one impossibly long hill. Steve sprinted ahead, nimbly skipping from rock to rock and over the puddles. The dog crashed through, the bigger the splash, the better. And I trudged along, running as fast as I could when the ground was flat, and doing my best not to fall into the puddles or twist my ankle when the trail got rough.
Life’s kind of like that, isn’t it? Sometimes you’re flying, running so fast, you can’t imagine ever slowing down. Sometimes everything goes smoothly. But inevitably, big puddles come along. And you have three choices. 1) Stop dead in your tracks, turn around and go home. 2) Hop nimbly from rock to rock, getting neither your toes wet nor your sneakers dirty. 3) Just keep going, no matter the muck on your sneakers or the pain in your ankles. Just make it through without breaking anything.
I can’t turn away from the shitty days, because, quite bluntly, it’s not an option. As much as I’d love to pull the blind shut and crawl into bed, it’s just not possible. Nor am I the type of person who can nimbly hop from rock to rock. Inevitably, I trip. Or fall. Or at the very least, tip the rock over and stomp my foot square into the deepest park of the puddle. And so, I continue on. With cold, wet socks and muddy shoes. I ran up that insanely steep hill today, legs burning and by the top, I could barely lift my legs. I reached the crest, finally, only to see my (agile, fast) husband killing time waiting for me by doing lunges.
There is always going to be someone (many someones) fast, smarter, stronger, thinner, better than you. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it’s not about them. Life is not a race or a test or a competition of any sorts. Life is about running up your own hills, making it through your own puddles. There are shitty days, there will always be shitty days. But sprint, if you can, through them. If you don’t have the energy to sprint, then run, or walk, or trudge, or crawl, or drag yourself. But make it through.
Because you have to. But also? Because you can.