By MIRIAM ERYAN
What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.
That has been my biggest lesson in life so far. If there was one lesson I wish I’d been taught, it’s to relish the now – to trust entirely in the notion that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now and so are you.
The over ambitious journalist in me often thinks that that is ludicrous. That accepting now means accepting my mediocrity. It means not striving to achieve anything beyond my pedestrian job and never daring to dream. But life, in it’s cruel, comical and perfectly timed way, has taught me otherwise.
While I am yet to perfect being as Zen as a Buddhist Monk, while I have eaten, prayed and loved on several occasions, my awakening came masked in despair but layered in love. Each layer of that awakening taught me to relish my reality – whether bad or good, there was always a lesson. I resolve everyday to love my life and when love is too difficult an emotion, it means to simply learn from the moment you are in.
In health, I recently learnt that I was powerless to control some of the changes that my body experienced. I spent years believing my body was invincible. I wanted to change things about it but was never proactive about improving it. I regularly put it through nightshifts, sleeplessness, food binges, starvation, toxic diets and claimed to be caring for it. I recklessly abandoned its needs. I was chasing something that perhaps my body is not supposed to attain. Then my body forced me to stop the unruliness and to begin paying attention. I was sick. There was no way out. I was exactly where I needed to be at that point in my life.
While I spent many days grieving the health I took for granted, hindsight has shown me that my weakest moment delivered me into the hands of my greatest joy. Poor health taught me the importance of family, showed me the support of my friends and introduced me to my local Crossfit Gym (CrossFit Revolute) that true to its name, revolutionized my life.
It transformed my relationships with others and my perception of myself as I metamorphosed into a woman I never imagined I could be. It made the stress of work a simple blip in my day. It became my life support and every time my happiness seemed fleeting, it revived me.
Health and spirituality became paramount because of an absence of the former. This realization doesn’t mean I’m always ok or that my aspirations have vanished, but it means that every day, I can experience a renewal of myself, my goals and a realization of my capacity to push beyond my limitations.
Most days I am positive, content with where I am and more importantly who I am, and then my humanity kicks in.
Those self-destructive comments slowly start to diminish my confidence in myself:
“Why am I single?”
“Why haven’t I had that promotion yet?”
“Is all of this in vain?” and all of it comes down to that little voice that says life is not as we imagined it and that must therefore mean, that something went wrong. It meant that somehow I had (because I am melodramatic) catastrophically failed at being the person I was supposed to be.
And then this thought came to me….what if, just one day at a time, we practiced wiping away that mental picture? What if we trashed all categorization, if language didn’t differentiate between people and if no identification of our variances was possible? It would mean we would have the opportunity to see everything as it is on its own, without outside influence or comparison. It could possibly even mean (gasp)… serenity of self.
Think about the moments you are happiest – freest.
It’s that moment you’ve just dressed up to go on a date. You glance in the mirror. You feel loved. You feel attractive. You have no other women to compare yourself to. It’s just you, facing you and for a second, before all of the self-loathing begins…you are happy.
It’s that moment where you’ve slaved over an exam or uni assessment and you score a distinction. You are happy before Gwyneth next to you shares news of her High Distinction.
It’s that moment where all of your family or friends join to celebrate your birthday when you glance around the room and the love that is felt for you is palpable, before you start to worry about being a year older.
It’s that day you stop grieving an ex and wake up to realize you’re more than just ok, you’re the happiest you’ve ever been, before someone taps into your fear of growing old and alone.
It’s that moment you get that promotion when you’ve slaved away silently for years, hoping to be noticed before you fathom the workload you’re about to take on.
Our whole lives are spent waiting for the next moment. Waiting for better, when every second is worth savoring, leading you to greatness, occasionally great in itself and always necessary for building your character.
“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” What if there was no image. If it was not ‘supposed to be’ and instead, ‘just was.’
You would be pretty enough.
You would be smart enough.
You would congratulate yourself on getting where you are.
You would find joy in each moment.
You would know no better because there would be no better.
You would just be…
And that would always be enough.
Miriam is a television researcher and producer. She’s a wannabe Oprah, a lover of kindness, giver of compliments and a Ryan Gosling devotee (who isn’t). She is 24 and spends her spare time thinking of love, wishing for Ryan and as a Beauty and Features Editor at Isle Three Magazine. Find her on Twitter here.
Has Future You ever screwed over Present You?