We all have our own “it,” that something or someone in our lives that threatens to suck the living right out of us. Whether it’s a rotten boss, a surly spouse, a wild child, an unfulfilled passion, health issues, or debt coming out the wazoo.
For my first 43 years, I felt apologetic that I was “it-free” when everyone I knew was either full of “it” or involved in a daily duel to keep “it” at bay. I felt compassion for the friends and family members who shared their struggles, but also grateful to not fully understand them. If I’m really being honest, there were even moments that I felt smug about the harmony of my relationships and general lack of suffering. I now know this was an invitation to karma to come in and teach me a lesson or two.
The “it” that now resides in my head comes from an intense fear of raising a headstrong and curious teenager from the age of 14 to 18. It pains me to realize that I’m actually celebrating both her birthdays and her half birthdays these days to remind myself that there will be an end to my responsibility in her decision making.
When my wise elders remind me that maternal worry is for a lifetime, I understand that my profound love for her and her sister means that I will always feel concern for their wellbeing. But right now, I’m feeling the weight of the responsibility on us as parents to be the common sense that her still-developing frontal lobe isn’t ready to take on. After 18, this responsibility will have made its complete transfer to her shoulders and she will live under our roof by invitation only. This probably sounds cool and detached, but I assure you that it is anything but that.
This newfound “it” of mine robs me of sleep and makes me feel the presence of internal organs that used to just take care of their business without me having to notice their machinations. It also strips the sunny right out of my disposition and paralyzes me from moving forward with my own goals and ambitions. It actually risks changing who I am as a person by affecting my health and outlook.
When I let it.
I write this blog today out of resolve to persevere. To keep “it” an important piece of my life, but not let its presence define every waking thought and every interaction.
The rub for me now – as the writer of a blog called Sunnyside Communications – is how to write a blog that aspires to inspire when my own personal skies start clouding over. So I write this today acknowledging that, some days, inspiration has to look more like determination.
I am determined not to let my “it” define me. And I hope the same for you.