It used to be like sunshine and rainbows with little kittens falling from the sky. Although life for me, as my best friend recalled, was kind of on autopilot. A nonstop loop of doing only repetitive things I knew I enjoyed with few challenges. I would do two or three speeches a week, search for more, and have fun in the many hours in between. I had time for massages and all that good stuff. But there was no real substance.
Now I’ll feel happiness, sadness, anger, content, peace, frustration, and laugh my ass off in the same day. I’ll experience tears of joy and tears of sadness. Today I feel all the feels and I believe that is truly living. Just because before I felt happiness all the time does not mean I was truly happy. I know I was happy but I never felt true joy like I do today when I am at my very best.
The reason for this is because before when I was just happy all the time (and I mean all the time), I wasn’t really learning anything doing the same stuff day in and day out. Now, I experience new challenges that spark different emotions because each challenge has its own response. Your brain reacts differently to each challenge. It’s all part of growth and it’s all worth it. Whether it be raising children or being in a relationship where you are constantly supporting one another and helping each other through different challenges it’s worth it. You find who you are and you become a better person in the process. You become a happier more well-rounded person in the process and you get more in return for what you give because you are raising the bar higher for yourself.
Currently I’m in the process of recovering from a tendon transfer surgery and what people don’t realize is that right now I really only have the use of one arm. I can’t put any weight on my left hand, which requires the use of a Hoyer lift. This is basically like a crane for people that a sling with some straps connects to that sits under me. Instead of just sliding or transferring in and out of bed, or on and off the couch, I now require this contraption to get myself moved from any sitting or lying position. I can’t even go to the bathroom without it because I need it to get into my shower chair.
When you are able-bodied, things take a certain amount of time and people can get impatient. Before the surgery I was still much slower than somebody that is able-bodied and now I’m probably four times slower than that. Now think about this testing your patience. Also, think about this testing your caregivers patience, which is Emily, who is also my girlfriend. Think about how that level of patience could test a relationship and could test you mentally.
I have to do this for 15 weeks and I’m not complaining because I know people that do this for their entire lives and don’t complain. I have to look at the reward, which is full function of my left hand. Then you have to throw in the fact that I can’t drive for 15 weeks and I need driven to all of my trips to the doctors and therapy.
Now if you think about how Emily and my patience are getting tested right now, it’s hard to imagine that we’ve been able to laugh and have a good time most of the time. Of course we’ve had our struggles and it’s very hard, but we’ve grown stronger throughout the process. I have had my complaints and she rarely complains, but we both get frustrated I know that. It’s very hard to put your partner through this but she has loved me throughout. I work hard to love her in any way I can.
We learn from each other and we work together and throughout the struggle we have grown to love each other more. I have shed tears and gotten panicked being stuck in bed but I always have her to lean on and in return I work to be there for her. So we have felt all the feels throughout this process but we’re growing and in the end we will have a stronger relationship and I will have a new hand. So if you think about this example it shows that struggle is worth finding something real and something to smile about. In the end, imagine how thankful we will be back to an even greater normal than before.
So, in summary, struggle is worth finding something to smile about but you can still smile and laugh throughout the process. You’ll watch your kids do wonderful things no matter how crazy they drive you or no matter how much heartbreak they cause you. Not every second is going to be happy and just because not every second is happy doesn’t mean you’re not a happy person. The people that struggle are the people that are learning so feel all the feels so that you can become a better you and be prepared to live tomorrow and into the future. Just keep pushing to come out the other side.