There are times when life peppers you with so many examples of the same lesson that you have to take notice. That has been my last week.
Personally there have been a couple things that have been bubbling up and creating some anxiety. The primary one being the fact that I’m just a week out from ‘retiring’ from coaching high school cross country and track. I am in my 9th season of cross country right now, and am very aware with every meet and practice that it’s one step closer to being a closed chapter.
These nine years have provided me with a routine, a sense of contribution like I have never known before, and a place where I feel like I belong. I love being the person for my athletes that I wish I had when I was 15. I occasionally have scary moments when I wonder where my next sense of belonging will come from. I wonder if I will find my outlet of contribution quickly enough after I wrap up my last fall awards night with my team next month. I wonder if there will be a void in my life because I won’t be needed in that way anymore.
The second area of my life that causes occasional anxiety comes from the new relationship I’m in. I’ve been flying solo for quite some time, and this man swooped in and has shown so far that he’s exactly that I’ve been wanting. He brings laughter, warmth, crazy intelligence and so much understanding. With all that awesomeness comes my occasional line of thinking where I get scared that I’m going to somehow fuck it all up. Dramatic, I know, but it’s the truth.
I can crawl up in my head for days on end and burrow into these circular thought patterns, but thankfully the universe has been throwing so many similar situations at me over the last week that I had to take notice.
In the last week I’ve had multiple people I care about lose their jobs, and a close friend find out that he potentially has serious health issues. He is someone who is a healthy, vibrant person that I’ve logged quite a few miles with.
Talk about the universe saying loud and clear that there’s no such thing as certainty, right?
I can try endlessly to cement relationships in place, have the most well thought out career and life plan, and live with the utmost intention, but the truth is that there are very few things that are totally in my control.
Now I can take that in two ways – I can be defeated and think ‘oh what the hell – it’s a crap shoot anyway. Pass me the doughnuts and a shot of Fireball please.’ OR I can recognize those things as a reminder of the power of graceful acceptance, and make sure I am doing things every day that truly matter to me.
I asked myself this morning about what I can do today that will truly be meaningful to me. Two things popped up. First, send a hand written letter to my nephew. Second, tell my boyfriend how much I value and appreciate him. Two small things that won’t even take much time, but those are the kinds of things that I’ll feel good about when I am going to bed tonight.
There will no doubt be more examples of uncertainty that unfold in my day today, but with my graceful acceptance of that along with my growing habit to keep doing what truly matters, I will still feel like I am creating a good life for myself.
As my coaching career comes to a close (for now), I will feel good about the thousands of hours I’ve spent with my athletes and their families. I will make sure I stay accessible to all those I’ve worked with so I can continue to celebrate life with them, and be a presence in their lives as they go through the process of dealing with their own uncertainties.
I will practice shifting my relationship thinking from a place of worrying that I’ll fuck it up, and instead accept that being myself in all my relationships is the best gift I can give. When I do mess up, I’ll own it and learn from it.
And now, I have a letter to write.