Looking back, my life’s chapters show themselves clearly, even though they may have unfolded untidily.
There may have been overlapping themes and messy incidents, but each stage had an unmistakable beginning and an end. Often, some catalyst caused the change from one stage to another.
In retrospect, themes appear. An overall plot-line becomes apparent.
Some phases dragged interminably, painfully. Others went by in a flash, while at the same time acting as plot twists powerful enough to change the trajectory of my life. Sometimes I made choices. Other times fate thrust challenges in front of me. They blocked my way and forced me to take another, scarier path.
Lives and story-books
Lives and story-books have similarities and great differences. Both need plots and action. They have themes and characters and scenes. Time and place ground them. Chapters or phases order them.
A big difference is that human lives are lived randomly, even haphazardly, as we deal with whatever turns up. Authors, on the other hand, take time to produce the ordered chapters of a book. The authors I know review and revise and tidy drafts, as well as each chapter, paragraph and sentence to create a meaningful whole.
Although rewarding and fun, with drama thrown in for spice, I can’t help thinking my life looks like a rough first draft. It needed a good edit to make sense of the highs and lows, the quiet life-changing moments and the hasty decisions. Indecisions, too, might have made more sense after re-writing
Living life’s chapters in the present
I can’t help wondering how much I missed because I failed to see each part of my life as a chapter to be savoured.
Sometimes, ‘One day at a time’ became my mantra, especially when challenges seemed overwhelming.
These days, in pursuit of serenity, I remind myself to take deep breaths to remain peaceful. (More in another blog, here.)
But to see this part of my life as a life’s chapter and to savour it? To let go of the past and immerse myself in what is happening, how I live and love now? To enter fully into every day, every moment, and enjoy it? I would do the things I want without worrying?
The future could unfold as it will without my efforts.
How exciting that sounds! How rich and abundant life would become if we cared less about the past and future, more about the now.
As Victoria Moran says,
When you’re engrossed in a story, nothing exists except what is happening now.
Being engrossed in your current chapter doesn’t mean giving up on hopes, dreams, plans and ambitions. It certainly doesn’t mean falling into the nearest rocking-chair or bed.
Living this life’s chapter in a focussed way means giving attention to the pleasures, joys and tasks which form the point of whatever stage of our lives we are in. It means living fully, abundantly and peacefully.