So many things get lost over the course of a life – objects and people and ideas. No one is exempt from loss, not even winners. We lose track of time. We lose sight of dreams. We lose the words that went unspoken and unwritten and unheard. Every day I discover new reasons to grieve.
The longest battle I have ever had to fight has been with time. There is always simultaneously too much and never enough of it. I have yet to learn – if such understanding can be said to exist – how to make the most of it, how to reach the end of my day and feel with absolute certainty that I had made the most of every second, how to close my eyes at night without feeling the small nudges of regret.
Recently I have been trying to have more adventures. I have been making the conscious effort to go out into the world and do more, try more, be more. But it’s left little time for those solitary activities I hold so dear. I have been reading less and writing less and although I have loved participating in these social events, I have felt less. Less like who I am and who I’m supposed to be. Every day I have not written here has felt like a loss.
And when losses collect, when they start to add up day after day, they begin to transform the way you perceive yourself. You are less like a person who has lost, and more like a person who is losing. These losses leave a hole inside of you, and when gone unaddressed, the hole grows larger and more frightening. Every happy thing falls into it. Every happy thing reminds you of the way you are sad.
And like all things we don’t want and can’t live without, guilt arrives. It spreads like disease. It attaches itself to everything. It takes away joy and leaves behind a dark heaviness, the kind that makes you lose sight of what once felt light. Every day you become more and more aware of the weight you are forced to carry. Every day it becomes a little less bearable.
But then one morning you wake up and hear the rain, and see that there is nothing on the calendar for the day, and you realize that you have all the time in the world to do what makes you happy. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll know exactly what that is. And if you’re very lucky, doing it will bring you back to yourself, will make the hole grow smaller, will make the weight feel lighter, will remind you that nothing is ever so lost that it can’t be found again.
This morning I woke up to the sound of rain, and an entire day to use as I please, and so I opened a blank page and started to write. And it feels good in a way that reminds me of who I am and who I’m supposed to be. Every day I get a little closer. Every day I discover some surprising new thing to love, and way to love, and that there is always love to be found. Every day I lose a little and find ways to grieve, but by each new morning, I am so much more.
Surely this is what it means to be alive, to every day continue fighting to do more, and try more, and be more. To know that losing does not define you as a loser. To keep seeking happiness and love, in all of their many forms. To understand that this is enough.