People don’t have to be in our lives forever to teach us lessons, and somewhere down the road the path narrows and forces us to choose those who will continue the journey with us and those who will take their own. There is nothing selfish about giving ourselves room to grow and time to figure out some things on our own, just remember that a burden shared is a burden halved. That must mean that a moment of joy shared is one that is multiplied?
I’m not talking about chasing social media likes either.
The lives some people live online is often highly filtered, so I always take what I see with a grain of salt. Of course there are many parts of my life that I don’t share with strangers, but I made a decision on the outset to be as honest as possible that growth and improving my self-image was often hard, ugly and pushes me mentally everyday.
Recently I was joined on a local walk by a friend - I have known her since her high school days, and ten years on our paths have crossed again. We have lived in the same town for most of our lives, where we have loved, lost, travelled and come back home. Even though she has followed my journey from afar, that day it was humbling that she gave me an insight into hers. It simply gave me a greater appreciation of people like her in my life.
This year she challenged herself to do the 100km Oxfam Trail Walker - do you realise how ridiculously far that is? Who in their lifetime could say they have walked 100km, let alone being awake for 35 hours to complete it? Like where do you even begin to make that decision and to commit to training for seven months, and the last two often became seven days a week? She recalled the wins, the mistakes and how it tested her relationship with her boyfriend.
Even though it was her decision to start that journey - it would be naive to think that it wouldn’t directly affect those closest to her. She understood this, yet I guess we never fully know the effects until we are in that moment, amidst the joy, the tears, the isolation and if what we seek is even at the finish line. Surviving wasn’t just about asking for help - she had to be strong enough to ask for it. To withstand the pain from the wear and tear of flesh and bone meant she had to prepare herself both physically and mentally. She said that during the race she always had to stay a step ahead mentally as pre-race injuries continually plagued her. This wasn’t just getting out of her comfort zone, she may as well have moved to Mars!
You can go fast when you walk a journey alone - but I see now how incredibly beautiful it can be when we share it with others, no matter how short that connection may be. We only have one life, so yes, live it to the fullest, but also take time to share that joy with others. Listen to their stories just as they listen to yours. Even though our paths may often wander, at this moment, we are sharing a similar narrative.
When our only focus is to go full steam ahead, it’s easy to miss out on the magic around us. Do slow down sometimes and give yourself permission to be happy without the guilt. It’s good to set goals - just remember to also set aside time to be still and recharge. For me, the journey is as important as the destination.
I learned a lot about my friend that day, and gained a greater appreciation for women like her in my life. When we know what healthy, growth-inspiring and fulfilling connections look like, we can no longer accept relationships that fall below this standard. That’s real love. For yourself and others, because you acknowledge their worth. Value those who join your journey as we are all teachers in life, so listen, and listen well.
I know I can walk this journey alone if I had to, but for now at least, the Universe wants me to share some of my adventures with others. Even for this extroverted-introvert, playing ball with others isn’t so bad, I would go as far as recommending it.