So, I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but, for me, as soon as summer arrives, life speeds up, big time. It’s like someone hits the fast-forward button and before I know it, weeks have flown by. I’ve been living out of a suitcase more than my own closet. And I love it, because I love being busy. I love having an overflowing calendar filled with the faces of friends and family and lots of activities. Busy is my fuel. But busy isn’t always the healthiest fuel (as the summer cold I’m now fighting proves). A year ago, I would have just kept going, going, going. But now I’m paying more attention.
It’s tricky whipping around between different realities, different cities, different events. The temptation when the weather turns nice is to stay a little tipsy and a little suntanned at all times, to push the uncomfortable stuff down and deal with it when the leaves turn brown. There are some things I’d rather fast forward through right now, like a family illness that’s painful and sad and the uncertainty that comes from embarking on a new career path. But I’m not doing that. I’m allowing myself to feel it all.
Brené Brown talks about the sharp edges of pain and joy, how we can’t selectively numb the painful stuff and still experience real joy. Numbing pain also numbs joy:
“Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees–these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.”
And boy, is she right. By allowing myself to feel all of it, to hang out in that uncomfortable space now and then, the good stuff has become heightened. The connections I have with my family and friends feel like they’re rooting deeper. Everything tastes better. Life feels hotter.
So I’m doing my best to be all there and all in this summer, to take the good with the bad and appreciate where I am, whether that’s singing karaoke with my besties at 2 am or crawling through a tiny claustrophobic tube at Tough Mudder (more on how that went next week).
What about you? Are you good at balancing the salty and sweet? Do you think making space for uncomfortable things can bring more joy into your life?