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The Balance of Life

The world in which we reside is never real, never concrete, and never as it seems. We live in it as we hope it to be, sometimes fear it to be, and often as we want it to be. But it never is what we wish; and we just choose to ignore that simple fact. We skip along in our blissful ignorance, reveling and marveling in the colors that paint our world.

Until….a cement façade is chipped away and things are revealed to not be what we thought. It may be the revelation of an previously unknown truth, a disclosure that changes our fundamental beliefs. A proverbial chink in our armor of self-protection from reality.

And in that moment of revelation, of discovery, colors wane, colors drain and the void turns from light to black. We struggle, we stagger, we stumble on every little thing, trusting nothing and suspecting everything. Every single thing we took for granted – perhaps for your whole life – suddenly gets examined and questioned.

Our balance in life, in full and honest disclosure, is precarious at best. We live one discovery away from a tumble and a fall – all the time. Luckily, we are a flexible and resilient species, capable of absorbing an astonishing amount of punishment and getting back up on our feet (sometimes it takes a little longer than others…..) The first fall from perception to reality is often a tough one, the younger you are when it happens the louder the “smack ” when you hit bottom. I offer my loss of my mother when I was 4 as an example – that left a mark.

It happens to us daily in some cases, small things that you always held to “be” that really are not anymore. In many cases, it is part of growing up and growing older. There was a time that seeing someone running a red light was a shock – an eye-opening OMG kind of moment. The moment would stay with you through the day and would be a major topic of conversation for quite some time. But now? It became so bad that they had to change the traffic signals: used to be the one light turned red, that the other would turn green. Now? Now one light turns red and there is a two or three second delay before the other light turns green. Overwhelmingly people smash the gas pedal when the light is yellow, even if they are still a quarter-mile away from it! So sure as the sun setting in the west, people are going to be blasting through that red light. And it is getting to the point where five seconds may be necessary.

The sanctity of the traffic signal was part of my upbringing and was a “truth” for me. Now, watching people come flying through still irks me to no end, but it is a “truth” that no longer exists in my world. Taking your shopping cart back to the cart area in the parking lot is another one. And the list goes on…all little “truths” I grew up with that have been lost over the years.

But then there are the big ones; finding out that your significant other can be abusive, that your lover is cheating on you, that your father is a secret alcoholic, or that your dog wasn’t sent to the farm to live out his days after all. They catch us by total surprise and that smack upside the head invariably leaves a gaping hole in our sense of safety and security. It comes unseen and with devastating impact and can leave us distressed and even disabled for days, weeks, and even months. To be honest, the really big ones, like losing a parent when you are very young, stay with you your entire life.

My point today is simple: take each day as it is offered to you and embrace it. Because the “truth” of that day, the reality as you live it, is fragile, ethereal, vaporous, and is likely to vanish before your eyes one day. It is all fleeting – nothing lasts forever. Recall Tennyson: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Enjoy, revel, and love while you can in the “now”, because one of these days it will all be different.

Loss is always hard; painful and soul-numbing. But it is inevitable, inescapable, and ineludible – there is no avoiding it – live and you will suffer loss. There are so many forms of loss from the death of a loved one: parent, sibling, spouse, child, grandparent, dear friend, or pet. But it can also be the loss of power or position; loss of physical ability through illness or accident or just aging; loss of confidence; or loss of balance due to a sudden surprise  “truth” that turns our world upside down. Whatever the cause, or the effect, loss is always crippling and painful, but is also recoverable. Never lose sight of this truth; even if it is so immense that you carry it for the rest of your life – you will live the rest of your life. The loss is not fatal (despite how you may feel at first), loss always hurts but you will recover and you will move on.

This is today’s word of wisdom from this old Wolff. This post was decidedly a follow-up of my past post on feeling secure; it is all little more than a state of mind. And that is just one more delicious facet of the duality of being human! Stay well dear reader!!

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