I have spent a lot of the past few years trying to see where I’m meant to grow in a situation rather than resisting. I can now say with 100% confidence that growth is always an option. I can also say with 100% confidence that resistance is always an option. And I have wrestled back and forth my entire life with this choice, the “good or evil”, the “simple or complicated” if only because I let myself believe that this was necessary in order to lead a worthy life.
It is a tricky endeavor, this always being aware of growth and getting “better” vs. well, NOT. Because I always thought that the getting better part was the point. That if we are not improving then we are misguided. Then there is the rebellious part of me that chooses resistance. Those are the times when either I A) do not want to face the truth or B) know the truth but choose to push it out of my mind in favor of something else. Quick fixes come to mind here. For me, resistance is all about quick fixes. Quick diets, buying a plane ticket, having a drink. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. The way you use them, the way I use them, is where the practice of resistance lies. I did none of these too much, but again, it was the reason I was doing them.
But it is hard not to use quick fixes when the only other option you’ve given yourself is hard, stupid, frustrating, no-guarantees change and growth. Who wouldn’t choose a vacation over that? Who wouldn’t want to have a drink and watch some reality TV and check out for a night? It is okay. I did. And it worked for a while. Life was not all bad.
Life also does not stay the same. So the same things that worked before are not guaranteed to work now. I haven’t been terribly forthcoming while blogging, but that all ends right now (not really, just sort of). In the last couple years I had a major health issue to deal with. It was a long process with lots of tests and when it all wound down, the good news is that I was and am healthy and okay. The bad news was that insurance refused to pay for a most of the costs associated with this process, leaving me sitting squarely with tens of thousands of dollars in bills and having to fight, argue, persist and stall to try to get it taken care of. It didn’t work. Also in that time I had to work less. This was okay, but could not go on forever. Unfortunately, it has gone on forever. Working part-to-no-time when you do not qualify for unemployment benefits is hard. This is not surprising.
All of this led me to not being able to use the same “remedies” for the stress in my life that I did in the past. No plane tickets, no shopping, no going out. Essentially, no checking out. Which had become my norm. I got as far away mentally, and sometimes physically, as I could from those truths I did not want to face. Now, I didn’t have that choice. I was forced into making other choices.
That is how I’ve spent the last year. Making choices I never planned to make, growing because of it, and not being allowed to resist simply because I did not have the option. All the while being reminded that I am alive and well and that is enough.
Which is why I know now that a spectrum with GROWTH on one end and RESISTANCE on the other is not not NOT where I want to live. There is no way that can be sustained. Even when you think you’re doing really well, the unexpected can and will alter that perspective. What I learned about the growth and resistance choices is that neither is what will give you freedom. The freedom is in the choice. The feeling you get when you are accepting of what is comes not from how well you dealt with something or how well you avoided it, it is from knowing you had the choice to do either and then exercising that choice.
That’s it. You don’t even have to be right or wrong, you don’t even have to justify your beach trips to anyone when it is making the choice itself that gives you peace. There is the entire summary of all of this: because I thought I had all my choices taken away when things got hard. But in realizing that even then, even in the unexpected and some of my hardest hours, I still could choose who I was put everything in a new light.
Life, for me, looks very different than it did a year ago, and almost unrecognizable from two years ago. And it is not because I chose the road less traveled and embarked on some kind of journey. It is because I went kicking and screaming into a broader version of myself and my life, was forced to let go of things that defined me before, and ended up standing there with a whole wreck behind me and only things vast and scary in front of me. So I just say okay, here we are. I am choosing to participate.