The cold nights begin, as that winter air creeps in, slowly but surely. I do love this time of year, as the days are warm, and the nights are cool. It’s great weather for sleeping, which is something I used to really struggle with, and sometimes still do. For the most part, I’ve learned to quiet the anxiety, the thoughts that used to pour into my head. Still, there are nights where I ping pong back and forth between my bed and my couch, just trying to find a groove. It doesn’t bother me the way it used to, the occasional sleeplessness. It’s largely out of my control, and I’ve come to accept that.
A friend visited for a few days, and the weekend went by too quickly. I suppose that’s a good sign, that we both wanted more time with each other. In our conversations, I remarked that Labor Day feels so different from Memorial day. It’s a lot more somber, almost as if the fun is over, as if the year is maturing, as if we have to become more adult. I like fall, but maybe I don’t love what comes after it. I’m pretty good at staying in the moment most of the time, but sometimes, I catch myself looking ahead. I know that the winter will come as it does every single year. It’s a collective forgetfulness we all experience in the north, or maybe we’ve just made peace with it. The winter isn’t all bad, and this time of year, the fall, has a lot to offer. Maybe for me, it’s the baggage that comes with it. Something from last year came back again this year, and I’m still figuring out how to process it.
I remember when a friend of mine visited in August of last year. We went to visit his friends, a couple whose wedding I had officiated. It had been a fun night, with great food and drink, and a lot of laughs. We looked at potential houses for them, and I even looked at photos of my old house. I remembered that it rained a lot that night, the way it did today. My friend stayed over their place, and I headed for home in the pouring rain, trying to catch my breath. It was on the car ride home that I realized the significance of this time of year, or maybe it was just the anniversary that was coming up, the anniversary of my father‘s passing. There was more to it, though, some residual effects. I couldn’t help but think about the time a few years back, when after a blissful summer and an amazing trip to Canada, the shift in my life begin. It was a hard shift that brought up a lot for me, and brought me to a place that I hope to never return to. I still haven’t been able to fully write about it. I sat there in the car, on the way home, lost in thought. I headed home alone to face myself.
September brings my birthday, and with it, the inevitable self audit. A lot is going well right now, and there isn’t much to add or to subtract. It’s a far cry from where I was at this point last year, although a smile forms when I think of past Adam, just one year ago. His life is about to change forever, and he has no clue. He didn’t know that his calling was about to absolutely knock him over, that there would only be a few more weeks of innocence, or maybe it was the last few weeks of being lost. I’m not completely found yet, but I have a lot more figured out than I ever have. Being lost is more my comfort zone and anytime we lose a part of our identity, even if it’s a painful part, it can throw us off. With that said, adapting to this new life has been wonderful. Giving up the old wasn’t hard. Letting go was easy because my excitement level was so high. I was ready to allow myself to be happy. A new job that you love doesn’t change everything, but it does make you happier, and a lot of that positivity spills into other aspects of your life. It’s hard not to be happy most of the time. Maybe it’s the job, or maybe it’s a newfound comfort level with myself. Maybe it’s a combination of the two.
Not everything is fixed. As I turn 35, there are things that creep into my periphery, or even the forefront of my brain. I like to think that I address everything in therapy, given the cumulative amount of time I’ve spent in it. I think about that time in my life a few years back, and about how long it’s taken to get comfortable enough to talk about it, and explore the feelings associated with it. It’s been difficult to be able to put names to feelings, to emotions, to images, and memories, all of it. My therapist told me that she didn’t dive right in when we first started. She must have known how raw, how confused and also scared I was. She wanted to give me some breathing room, and of course our relationship was brand new. I was only a short time removed, and so like the good therapist she was and still is, she didn’t push me. That’s a gift. The real magic happens when you’re able to listen, to be intuitive, to hear what people are saying, to know when to hit the gas, and when to ease off.
I thought that my therapy sessions were becoming boring. There are lulls in any relationship, whether they are friendships or professional/working relationships. Just when I think there’s nothing left to say or to cover, something comes out from behind the shadows, from the darkest recesses of my brain, or my body, or wherever it is that trauma is stored. You never know what will come up, and it’s useful to have a therapist on speed dial. There are moments in my life where I’ve been worried I didn’t need therapy anymore, as it’s become such a prominent part of my adult life, my identity. I like to assure both my therapist and myself that I still need it, afraid to lose it, but now I know that there is still so much to talk about.
I remember when I was training for the marathon, and I started to get worried about the level of sun exposure and damage, and how my skin would look. Weight is something that I have struggled with from time to time, as I have fluctuated wildly. I’m very comfortable with where I am right now, but I have to admit that an offhand comment/joke threw me for a loop that I wasn’t expecting. I try to deal with everything in therapy, and so it’s frustrating when things come up that you weren’t aware of. I know that humans tend to repress what we’d rather not deal with, but I have tried to be an equal opportunity employer with everything that comes my way. I thought that I was nearing empty, but that isn’t the case. There still are those very human anxieties, and there’s a nervousness about getting older. I know I’ll get older and things will change, and yet, it throws you when it actually happens, when you witness it first hand. You notice something that wasn’t there before, a fine line in your forehead, something that reminds you that we don’t last forever.
I’m not looking to have my feelings on aging either validated or invalidated. This is a space that I use to process my thoughts and feelings. You’re free to pass your own judgements, but I don’t want to be the person that turns away. I don’t want to be the person that’s afraid to deal with the things that make me uncomfortable. I’m well aware that nothing goes away by not addressing it, or by pushing it down. I’ve done both of those things as a human being, and realize their futility. I like to think that throughout the course of life, I’ve become a better communicator. I’ve gotten better at communicating with people, and communicating to others what’s going on for me.
I was reminded this weekend of how wonderful it is to have a good friend come and visit me. I am happy for all the people in my life that have moved away to start lives of their own, but every now and again, a friend comes to visit, and you realize that maybe you took it for granted how nice it is just to have someone living in the same city as you that you can call anytime, to either grab a drink or a cup of coffee. You miss those close relationships, and time moves so much faster as you get older. Months go by in a flash, and some friends, you’ll only see them a few times per year. I’m familiar with this, as my dad was the first of his family to move away. He did it so he could answer the calling of his life, but I know that he missed a lot. I can’t think that I didn’t weigh on him to some degree.
Maybe there is no point here, to this post. Maybe I just needed to talk. I know that writing is how I best express my feelings. It’s interesting to write this in this fashion. I injured my hand about a month ago, and I’m still not able to fully type. I stand here and write this not by typing, but by turning on the microphone to my phone, and speaking into it while it writes everything down for me. I am listening to these thoughts out loud. It feels a little bit like a therapy session to be completely honest with you, and I’m grateful that I have one tomorrow. This session has been like journaling, and it’s been wonderfully cathartic.
I’m grateful to be conscious, to be aware, even though I know that I don’t have a choice in what does and does not come up. Ignorance is often bliss, but the human experience is beautiful, even though it can be so challenging. I’m still grateful to be writing this blog, and I do hope to keep up with it for the rest of my life, even though I know I’ll get busier, and I won’t always write regularly. I’m still happy to be doing this, even as I speak into a phone to record my thoughts. I hope I get points for creativity. This Labor Day is about coming to terms with my humanity, something I’ll never stop working at. I’m grateful to have close friends to do this with, as we all go through it, together. Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Labor Day”
Indeed, the human experience is beautiful. This reader is hopeful that you will keep talking, writing, and processing. This post is testimony to your growth and happiness. And your humanity is graceful.
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