I recently chatted with a longtime friend of mine. We’re pushing a decade of friendship, and have seen each other grow through a lot of really interesting life chapters; most recently, I had the joy of watching her get married. Sharing in the celebration was one of the most special days of my life.
When it’s been a while, she and I have a phone call to catch up on life. Often times, we provide feedback from our own perspective, as well as share our challenges.
Recently, we discussed the idea of responsibility. At the age of 29, I don’t have a lot of ‘responsibility’ under my belt, according to usual standards of ‘being responsible’. Single, without a mortgage/car payment – which also voids me of ownership, and no children to raise.
On one hand, it may seem like a life devoid of responsibility. In many ways, it is. However, there’s a delicate balance to be found between responsibilities and enjoying your life in the moments that don’t require them.
I’ve felt the stresses of wanting to ‘get my life together’ which instantly triggers stress and anxiety – for what? These voices just like to scream, rather than realize things are as they should be.
Steve and I recently spoke about this topic. He reminded me there’s not an ‘arrival’ moment in life, but that life is found in each moment that presents itself to you.
“The ant and the grasshopper represent the work required to live a successful life – but also the peace found in the moments. They need to learn how to work together in order to dance in the winter.”
My friend mentioned a lot of my choices have flip-flopped over the years. For that, she is correct. When you’re presented with new information about life, you’re given a responsibility to make the choice of how you want to adjust your new perspective with the new information. In many cases, new information doesn’t lead to a shift in perspective, as it requires work to change your world view.
For example, I know a good deal of ‘good’ people that can’t find it in their hearts to accept homosexuals. Whether it’s from cultural bigotry or religious belief, they resist changing the belief in their hearts that homosexual love is true love.
A recent conversation with one of these people led her to state “You’re telling me that I can’t have the belief that somebody is wrong.” “Quite the contrary” I replied,
“you’re free to have whatever opinion you want about others – but don’t be surprised if it makes you appear unfriendly to the rest of the world.”
I remember being in this mindset where I, too, felt being a homosexual was ‘wrong’ and ‘unnatural’ because in the environment I was raised, that belief was championed without thought of the consequences it would create; whitewashed bigotry, cheekily smiling at those I didn’t want to understand – or see shades of – represented in my own life.
“Love the sinner – hate the sin” is a belief that leads to internal segmentation of judgement; choosing who you’ll allow yourself to love (and I mean really love) while superimposing your own self judgement on those who have done nothing to deserve it.
Often times, inability to love others is simply a reflection of inability to love and hold space for your authentic self.
The world is an ever-changing place. I’ve found it very important in my own life to take the right amount of time to evaluate, reflect, and process thoughts, experiences, and memories. It allows old wounds to heal, while paving the path for a future that won’t repeat a painful past.
You aren’t broken. You aren’t incomplete. You’re the most perfect version of yourself at this very moment, because this moment is the one containing your choices that will place you in the next.
I’ve watched a lot of millennial jump into the vortex of responsibility; plunging feet-first into 30-year mortgages, marriage, children, and careers. Not being lost in this vortex of anxiety has helped me get to know – and I mean, really know – a lot of amazing people, because the moment of friendship isn’t lost in a subconscious world that’s lost in the busywork of life.
Life is a chess game, requiring careful thought and strategy. It’s also a dance, that requires you to surrender to the moment and be fully present for each second. The clock is ticking.