When I was a kid my best friend and I were gymnasts. Her mom was a stay at home mom to three and most of the other parents had to work so she always ended up being the carpool go to person. She picked us up, and dropped us off at daily practice and hosted many a slumber parties and camping trips. We seemed to spend a lot of time in the car. I'm not sure why I remember the things that I do but I still have this image of her driving with one hand on the wheel and the other hand holding her head while her arm rested on the door with her elbow just slightly sticking out of the window. Just looking at her like that you got the sense that the weight of the world was on her shoulders. She sighed a lot and often looked sad and tired. I remember clearly thinking to myself with the innocence of a child that I would never be that way. As a kid sitting in the back seat chatting with my gym buddies I had no comprehension of the menagerie of worries she could possibly be struggling with and simply could not understand what could make someone appear so beaten down. How could I? Childhood is such a wonderful little bubble of joy. I was young, full of energy and had no responsibilities beyond household chores and going to school. My biggest worry was if I would get my back handpring on beam or if my dad would let me go to Disneyland with the other girls.
As an official adult for the last sixteen years I know better now. I can think of a million things that could have caused the sadness in her eyes. I often times find myself assuming that same pose with my head in my hand on my way home from a long day of work. A worried head racing with thoughts of this or that. Funny how that is. I know now what I couldn't begin to know back then. As we grow older our world broadens and along with that comes a million other things that make us grow up and make us grown ups. Some things we like, and some we don't but we don't get to pick and choose. I remember the excitement of going off to college, the thrill of being able to order my first drink in a bar and the pride of moving out into my first apartment after college. Along with that comes problems that need resolving, bills that need to be paid and obligations that need to be tended to. Life can be as hard as it is rewarding. I know that I've not seen the worst it has to offer and can't complain too much but there are days when I just can't see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and my inner demons threaten to knock me down. Moments where I feel tired and worn out by the day to day struggle of making it and figuring out where I fit in. Times that I wonder where I went wrong and what oh what can I do to fix it now.
So what do we do? We keep going because as grown ups that's what we are supposed to do. We hold on tight to the good things and do our best to fend off the bad. We gather strength and joy from the ones we love. We keep working, growing, and learning. We bask in delight wherever it finds us, because surely and thankfully it will. We do this because life can be hard but it is still good.