Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm doing the best I can

At this point in my life
I’ve done so many things wrong I don’t know if I can do right
At this point in my life
Although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows
I’m still searching for the light

You see I’ve been climbing stairs but mostly stumbling down
I’ve been reaching high always losing ground

You see I’ve been reaching high but always losing ground
You see I’ve conquered hills but I still have mountains to climb
And right now right now I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

I love sad songs. Songs that speak to my heart. Somehow, I find them oddly comforting. A favorite of mine is an old Tracy Chapman song called “At this point in my life.”

I’ve done so many things wrong, I don’t know if I can do right. . .

This line is self-explanatory. And if anyone reading it can’t empathize with that feeling, they are either super-human, or someone who’s lived such a perfect life, I can’t relate to them.

Although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows, I’m still searching for the light. . .

There are those happy people you know that can always see the bright side in any situation. I’m not that girl. I bought a tee shirt last year that made me laugh when I picked it up. It said “Little Miss Sunshine.” I guess only those that really know me, know how funny that is. I’ve struggled with depression for the bulk of my adult life. Actually the first time I went to see someone about it, I was 24. Does this bother me? Absolutely. But I can’t change it, so I deal with it. So yes, I spend days in the “shadows.” But do I ever stop “searching for the light?” No.

You see I’ve been climbing stairs but mostly stumbling down. I’ve been reaching high and always losing ground. . .

Life is filled with skewed perspective and distorted goals. This is only made worse if you are cursed with being someone who feels like “it’s” never enough, whatever “it” may be. There is always something to reach for. Usually it’s beyond your grasp. And when we don’t attain it, we may feel like we’ve stumbled. We’ve lost ground. But maybe, just maybe, if we actually get a hold of it, we will find that it wasn’t the key to happiness anyway.

There was a time in my life that I truly believed, and I mean I really, really believed, that if I weighed 118 pounds then life would be perfect. Perfect. I chased that number until it made me almost crazy. And then I had my baby girl, Sophia. She was a sickly baby. We had many visits to various specialists at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. During this time, the baby weight fell off. I didn’t weight 118 pounds. I weighed 112. But interestingly enough, life didn’t feel “perfect” even though my jeans were hanging off my body. Not at all. My perspective had changed. What I thought was the answer, was resoundingly, not.

This is just one example of how we sometimes believe if we can just do “this” or just get “that” then life will be perfect. It's often not true.

Then there is also the cold, hard reality that sometimes we try our best and we fail. Simple as that. We try. We fail. It happens. We’ve been told that if we “just work hard enough” we will reach our goals. It just isn’t true. Sometimes you won’t reach your goal. Ever. That’s when we learn to cope with lost dreams. Sounds sad and cynical, but I believe it to be very true.

At this point in my life, I’m doing the best I can. . .

I love this line. Love it. Love it. Maybe you have to hear her sing it to appreciate the feeling in it. Can’t we apply this sentiment to so many areas of our lives? Our relationships, our friendships, our workouts? Sometimes, although no one can see it, you really are doing the best you can. At this point.

I think more than anything, we want to be loved, and appreciated for who we are, in spite of our mistakes and our shortcomings. We want someone to support our crazy, unattainable goals, and then comfort us when we don’t reach them. We also need to understand that life isn’t perfect, not even close, and it’s continually evolving.

But hopefully, every now and then, we have the time to sit and listen to a beautiful song that makes us pause, and reflect. Think about our choices. What we think is important and why. How we got here and where we want to go.

And right now, I'm doing the best I can. . .

We need to consider the beauty and ugliness in our lives. It’s filled with both. Beauty and ugliness. The key, I believe, is learning to recognize which is which. And then do the best you can.

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