“This is not your practice life; this is all there is.” -Unknown
Life isn’t meant to just happen. Life is meant to be lived and it is meant to be felt. Sometimes it feels like breathing in that sharp burst of cold air in the winter, the one that stings your lungs and waters your eyes and causes an exhale that looks like smoke. Sometimes it feels like walking on hot asphalt in the summer sunshine, scorching your feet and causing blisters that will speckle your skin for weeks. Sometimes it feels like a long run on a fall morning, when the world looks so striking you forget your aching muscles for a second just to take it all in.
Sometimes it feels like waking up in a house where you’ll always be the stranger. It feels like living each day according to a routine that is not your own. It feels like facing your weakness, really knowing and reckoning with it in ways you never have before. It feels like making close friends with discomfort, feeling its presence acutely and letting it sit like a constant reminder at your side. And every time you start to settle in, a shifting foundation prompts you to tear it all down and start over. Sometimes life introduces you to a whole new meaning of lonely.
But feeling life, really living it, means contending with adversity. We are alive precisely because of the feeling we possess, that rich emotional complexity that makes up every crevice of the human mind. There are days when you will wake up and remind yourself to step one foot in front of the other because the mountain before you looks so massive you might never see the other side. You gather what courage you have left to muster and prepare for the tasks ahead, knowing that the only way through the challenge is exactly that: through it.
There is good news here. Life has meaning precisely because it’s hard. That cold gust of winter air brings life to your body and those blisters put calluses on your feet. Those long runs build strength that makes you powerful and brave. The mountain you’re climbing, no matter how daunting, has a peak at the top. Resist the temptation to stay in the valley below.
Hard things make you better. Get out there and live.