To celebrate a special birthday in 2021, I published a book of collective pieces of wisdom from friends and family. The book is called Advice For Life and I would like to share with you a small piece I wrote about the power of supporting each other. During these uncertain times, having someone to rely on is more important than ever. Hope you enjoy the read!
Some situations and life lessons will rip your heart from your body. They will shake your every resolve. They will require every ounce of strength to get through. But you will, until the day when you no longer can.
No one promised us an easy life. Think back and reflect for a second, did anyone ever say to you... “Here is the next so many years of life as you know it, and it’s going to be a breeze, cruise through, see you are the other end.”
I think a more fitting description would be, “Here is your life, I am not going to tell you how long it is or who you are going to be journeying it with, but I can tell you, it will be a rollercoaster, some days you will be on top of the world and other days you will have fallen so far, you can’t even see the top anymore. But when the ride is over, it’s over, and you won’t when that is happening either. So, enjoy!”
Maybe the way we achieve such a feat as to last that rollercoaster ride is that we are not all in the same carriage at the same time. Maybe, when I am at the heading up to the peak of the summit, the sun shining on my face, the wind blowing, the view from the height absolutely breathtaking. Is it possible, that in that moment, I look down and see you plunging towards the ground, the terror of your face telling the story of immense fear of the unknown; your knuckles clenching the rail for some sense of safety, terrified beyond belief of the next pass the carriage is about to take.
Is it possible that in that moment, I look down and yell back to you, “It gets better, just hang in there!” And is it possible when the roles are reversed that you yell down to me, “Just keep moving, you will get through it!” Is it possible that is how we get through this roller coaster? We are not all in the depths of terror and despair at the same time. Nor are we all at the height of immense success and good fortune at the same time. At any time, we are at the lowest low, or the greatest high or anywhere in between. That on any given day, we are each in a different carriage, joined by different friends and family and propelled along at what feels like the speed of light toward the inevitable end of the ride.
Sometimes, someone slips out of the carriage, never to return. Sometimes, the carriage stops for just a second for a new life to join in the ride. Sometimes people move between carriages, they might stay with you for a short time or all of the ride. But one thing remains the same, the ride has dizzying heights and terrifying depths and once onboard it doesn’t go backwards, only forwards at a speed that cannot be controlled.
Now I wish someone had explained life to me in these terms when I was younger. If I had this analogy of life and what it would look like, I wouldn’t have spent the time I did looking backwards, worrying about what I did wrong. That part of the track is far behind me, and I am never to return to it to do it over again. I wouldn’t fear the great descent that gathers speed making me feel as if I am about to get smashed on the hard ground, because after the fall, there is a slowing down, a levelling out before the next great high. If I had thought of this analogy earlier, I would have kept my focus more on the great heights I was to enjoy, waiting for the moment that carriage slipped into the sunshine, and allow myself to take in every aspect of the view from the amazing peak of the rollercoaster.
I am happy at least to realise this at fifty. Wow, maybe I am wiser with age! I plan to live to one hundred, that’s the goal anyway, so I am according to my grand plan, only half-way through the rollercoaster ride of life. How about if I promise you this...that when I am heading skywards, I will look down and check on you, if you promise to do the same for me. I will yell down, “You will get through this!’ and you yell back the same for me. Does that sound like a promise we can make?
Kellie M Cox (c) 2021.