Life goes on. Sometimes that’s a comforting thing, other times it is not.
Eight years ago I had an epiphany. I’d been kidding myself that I was set for life. I had a mortgage, a car, a job (hey I made PENSION contributions) that came with an ID badge, a boyfriend who was a Christian like me, and some great friends who lived close by.
In reality I had a car I had been conned into buying and getting a loan for by my father (a loan I was still paying off and was costing me a fortune because it was a terrible make of car that always needed repairs – and I told my Dad and stepmother at the time and they told me I was talking crap and so I went against my instincts and went along with it), a job that was making me sick, and a toxic relationship with someone who didn’t have great boundaries, put me down, whose family put me down and brought out the very worst in me.
I did have great friends though.
In December I wrote my letter of resignation to my job. I never sent it.
In February I went to a weekend away with my friends from church and I came back knowing I needed to break up with my boyfriend. Somehow I let myself be guilt tripped into not going through with that plan.
Until one day it felt like the earth imploded. In a single day I got dumped, then went to work, waited til everyone went home, hid in my bosses’ office and bawled down the phone to my friend about how I knew I needed to go back to my home city and I’d just been dumped because I’d said so. I dried my eyes, went to the youth group I was facilitating, drove home and bawled some more. I developed a fever and by the next morning I was out of it with flu.
Three weeks later I’d emptied my flat, moved it all to Edinburgh and I was in Australia.
I came back remembering who I was. I so believed this was the start of my life. I was going to get my community education qualification and get a permanent contract with a local authority. I was going to go back to Australia. I was going to road trip across the USA. I was going to have a home where my friends would come to stay all the time.
Eight years on, life has gone on – but it feels like it’s ‘gone on’ for everyone else but me. And it’s tough to take. I never thought that eight years later I wouldn’t have a job, a car, would be living with my parents. There’s a green eyed monster close to the surface as friends have moved away, travelled more widely, got married, had children, got amazing jobs, have lovely homes that they get to live in and then…there’s me. Stuck in some kind of time warp prison with a few grey hairs.
I spent a summer and a winter being miserable and just wishing at times that I would just die. Instead, life went on. I woke up every morning. Alive. Friends kids have grown, friends have moved homes, got PhDs, got amazing jobs. But I’m still here. Surviving and wondering if it’s possible to live life rather than just have it ‘go on’.
There are those of you who have gone through horrific tragedy that may have made you felt like the world should have ended. Doesn’t the world know that the loss you’ve experienced is so painful you don’t feel like you can go on? And yet while time stopped for you, the rest of the world has carried on. And life will keep going for you. The loss will never go away, but you’ll learn ways of dealing. You’ll create new routines and life hacks to make it through and try and find new meaning in this strange life you never chose to lead without that person or people.
I don’t have the answers. Trust me, this post would be much more encouraging if I had some kind of wisdom. But I haven’t gained it yet. I’m terrified that there is no happy ending to this story that gives some kind of hope to anyone out there who is perhaps feeling that same thing…life going on, round and round. Like a carousel you’re stuck on while everyone else got off and has left the carnival already.
I hope one day I will have the answers. For now, I will go to sleep and assume that I’m going to wake up in the morning.
I will try not to think too much about the rest of it.