Tell me what it is
you plan to do with
your one wild and precious life?
Life often feels busy with an unending to-do list, lots of obligations and not enough time for sleep, enjoyment or a good book. It is so easy to lose sight of the preciousness of human life! The odds of being born are infinitesimal, yet it's easy to take life for granted and not appreciate it, especially if you feel depressed or anxious or life isn't going the way you had hoped.
Yet despite all of the hassles and problems in life, it is an amazing experience to be alive. All of the choices and options ( and the things that may not feel like options or choices) can feel overwhelming, yet they offer an opportunity to dig deep and make something of this time on Earth.
Years ago I saw a bumper sticker that has stayed with me: it said "this is not a dress rehearsal." There really isn't time to put off the things and people that truly matter, the passions of the heart and soul. Poet Mary Oliver's question "What do you plan to do with your wild and precious life?" is worth pondering and exploring. I encourage you to spend some time thinking and dreaming about this, journaling about it, and talking about it with friends!
Don't worry that your Life
is turning upside down.
How do you know that
the side you are used to
is better than the one to come?
Human beings are creatures of habit. Change that arrives without having specifically been invited is often viewed as disastrous.
Life is really minimally under human control, but most people carefully craft and attempt to control their lives, to not have to face this reality. Many people think they know what is best for their individual lives (not to mention the world at large); everyone certainly has their preferences ( based on their lives so far).
When that carefully crafted life is confronted with a challenge, when life feels like it is turned upside down, panic often ensues. A health issue, a lost job, relationship or home can all feel catastrophic. It's hard to imagine that the upside down vantage point might be beneficial, might even be better!
How life being turned upside down effects each individual has a lot to do with how change was experienced and dealt with in childhood. Was it something to be avoided at all costs? Or was if faced head on, encouraged?
It can be growthful, although upsetting, to be forced to see things from a different perspective, to shake things up and challenge what has become known, familiar and comfortable. There may be grief for what is lost, but there are new things to experience, see and live when the world tilts in the other direction.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley