Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A journey, not a destination

I work hard and I work a lot. I've diagnosed myself as a workaholic. I work continuously because when I work, I don’t have to think about all my problems. More often than not, I forget the purpose of my actions, but I continue to work.

Unfortunately, I get tired. That’s when things become difficult and my thoughts become more powerful than my actions. I start to lose concentration and my work eventually comes to a stop.  It’s at this point in time that I sense numbness in my life. It’s caused by excess stress and exhaustion, and then nothing seems to make sense.

It’s a wicked cycle, one year to the next. Now, as I near the end of 2012, I look back at the months that have flown past and I realize it’s been an incredible journey of survival, from one milestone to the next. These milestones have kept me going. They have helped me to focus on moving forward.

I watch people interacting with me and I realize, to them I am who I am, the same person I was yesterday and the same person I was a year ago. Inside, it’s a different story. I've climbed over so many obstacles in the past few months that I’m not the same person I used to be. Inside, I’m broken and every day something else inside me seems to crack or fall apart. It’s a constant deterioration of who and what I am. Nobody sees it and to me it’s never mattered because any weakness inside me is a flaw that the world does not need to know about.

Experiences have a way of stretching emotions in such a way that it often feels as if nothing will ever be the same again. I've stretched the barriers of my fears to such an extent that I often feel I can never experience joy again. Of course, any pressure I've suffered in the past has been just that, pressure! Being resilient has helped me to cope with it and press forward – even if it meant pushing forward as a workaholic to cope.

I've never learnt how to relax. I've spent so much time trying to meet unrealistic expectations, which I've placed upon myself that I've never been able to enjoy life.  I've suffered so much loss. While death comes to mind, my loss hasn't just been tangible. Many things I've lost cannot be monetized, and the pain and devastation associated with it has been hard on me. In a sense, I've never stopped grieving about my loss. The whole process of grieving is fluid, so there are no rules as to how I grieve or what I grieve about, but letting go has just never seemed an option.

Thus, my life has been riddled with bouts of depression. Yet, depression does not define me. I spend so much energy every day fighting negativity and making choices to be optimistic. I've been given this inner strength to conquer each day. I motivate and challenge people who lean towards pessimism, and somehow there’s been a certain measure of reward in that.

Going out with the purpose that I’m here to serve and not to be served has had an enormous impact on my life. It goes hand in hand with the idea that it’s better to give than what it is to receive and, then, of course, it’s better to remain humble, meek and kind …

I have two milestones in 2013: my 25th wedding anniversary and my daughter’s 21st birthday. I push onward in the hope of reaching both, but life is a journey, not a destination. To be able to live in the moment and survive it, that’s what I should be destined to do. So, these milestones are not destinations. They’re just part of the journey.

Death is hard, but living life is harder. Death needs courage, but, in the end, we need more courage to live.