A friend recently asked me how I get through what she considered to be my somewhat ‘shitshow’ of a life (her words, not mine). I’ll be honest…our family has experienced its share of craziness, hardship and sadness in the past five years. Yet, we’ve bounced back many times. Why? The answer is laughter…lots of laughter. That, and the understanding that with each crappy situation, we can also find some really incredible moments, and quite often, a life lesson. It all comes down to your perspective.
In all seriousness, I don’t know how interesting my life would be if everything went exactly according to plan every single moment of every single day? To be honest, I’d be living an absolute snooze-fest. On the lighter side, my hikes this year would have lacked in hilarity had it not been for an out-of-nowhere lightening and hail storm, red army ants, killer tree branches and a train riding our butts in a tunnel. I wouldn’t have felt the exhilaration of getting to the top of a climb to see spectacular views if the hike up hadn’t had my lungs screaming at me to return to the beach. My memories wouldn’t have been quite as memorable if I hadn’t locked my keys in the car in the middle of nowhere…because how can you not laugh at your own idiocy?
I know that my roadtrips wouldn’t have been as exciting if we didn’t get lost every once in a while…or had car troubles…or had our luggage sent to the opposite ends of the world…or were sent to another country with nothing but our underwear. These glitches in carefully laid plans tested my sanity, but also give me opportunities to problem-solve, and perservere. And the people that I met in the strangest of circumstances are an added bonus that made these hiccups and frustrations so worth my while.
Struggles in my personal life with loss and illness are another story. To say that these experiences sucked is an understatement of colossal proportions. They were painful to experience and difficult to work through. But…they also brought about a sense of community and family, and the laughter that came from the stories shared was healing in many respects. Do I wish that they hadn’t happened and that people that I love were still with me? Without question. The void that their absences have left in our lives is enormous. Yet, I can’t change the outcome and bring them back. Instead, I can choose to remember the good times and the lessons learned. And believe me, there are many.
So, in answer to my friend’s question, life has definitely been chaotic for our family in the past five years…that goes without saying. As a result, I’ve had a few stories to tell over the years. Some were entertaining, several were heartbreaking and others fall somewhere inbetween. Whether they evoke a guffaw or not, these stories are my life, with all its ups and downs. What I do know is that the challenges that I have faced have made me stronger, more resilient and definitely more tolerant of things coming at me from left field. How I choose to see them is all just a matter of perspective. And I choose to see the humour…and the good…and the awesomeness that life has provided me. So this shitshow…well, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.