Kids have the ability to see what most adults have lost somewhere along the way…The ability to see joy – even in the rain.
I used to be the person that would get mad when it rained. Especially when it was a string of rainy days on end where it feels as if the world will always be a gray muddy mess.
I needed the sun! No, I deserved it! And if my expectations weren’t met I’d get all bent out of shape and let it ruin the day. Especially if was a Saturday or Sunday. I would spend so much energy being angry and focusing on what I didn’t get, that it would rob all the beauty that was waiting to be found right in front of me.
A different kind of beauty. The kind of beauty I couldn’t see. I couldn’t adjust my controlled plan on how things were “supposed to be” to allow myself to see what “is”.
My mind couldn’t process joy because it was focused on the injustice of having to work all sunny week and then be paid back with soggy gray weekends. Unfair!!
A whole world of awesomeness was awaiting me…all I needed to do was adjust my perspective. I wasted days and…really years to anger.
Life is different now.
At least in some ways. I am now 6 years removed from a messy divorce. Time has healed (and in some cases still healing) many of those battle scars and trust issues.
I also had to face that fact that I had carried a lot of unaddressed anger from an unconventional childhood with a mom that suffered from severe mental handicaps which had left me a prisoner of fear, anger and confusion in general.
That meant taking time to mourn, deal and move past these things instead of bury them or hide behind some mask. I had to learn to say I am NOT ok, get help, and give myself room to heal. I was letting all these negative factors dictate how I viewed the world.
But in many ways my life is very much same. Many of the same factors are at play. I am still me. Same city. Same job. Same general struggles and constraints (time, finances, health, etc.).
So what IS different? And why?
A few main things:
First, I stopped trying to control everything!!
I surrendered the inclination to have a plan for everything and insisting everything go according to that plan. OMG…do you know how exhausting it was to be responsible for everything? And how much potential fun was sucked out of the room (and my life) by being so rigid?
I had to, sorry, but true…”Let it Go” like Elsa, or “Shake it off” like Taylor.
And guess what – letting go of that control was very freeing! Even spontaneous and fun!
The problem I have now is being TOO spontaneous and lacking a plan for things that really do need some forethought (Maybe I’m making up for lost time).
Secondly, I accepted things as they are.
Me as me (flawed). Others as they are (flawed). Weather for what it is (unpredictable). Life for what it is (hard, unfair…yet wonderful).
No more comparing what “could” be or what “should” be. No more wishing for something different. Just plain and simple accepting what I have right in front of me and making the most of it!
That includes getting to the place of acceptance with even tough breaks like divorce or moms with schizophrenia and a host of other tragic things that can happen in ones life. Accept (on your own time line) and then move on.
And again…guess what? Sweet freedom. No more false expectations to live up to. Acceptance has paved the way towards transparency…vulnerability…realness. I have more genuine friendships and people in my life than ever before because of this.
So when this past spring break week was mixed with freezing temperatures, snow, and rain nearly every single day…It was ultimate test. Had I really changed? Or was I just blowing hot air?
I was beyond thankful and extra pleasantly surprised to find that somehow those lessons have sunk below the skin into the deep corners of my soul that so desperately needed it. Ironically – like a good hearty rain sinking deep into a thirsty garden patch.
I had the whole week off to spend one-on-one time with only my youngest, which I rarely get to do. And while my friends were on sunny fabulous beaches…it didn’t even make me frustrated or jealous that we were bundled in 5 layers and prepared for a monsoon, or snow storm, or a polar vortex, or…
I was genuinely happy for my friends because it was not about comparisons. It was about celebrating what I have right here right now. So all that mattered is that me and lil tid bit had 5 days to spend together however we wanted!
Though we had envisioned going hiking and having picnics at play grounds, we easily changed our plans for indoor things like the Conservatory, bowling and movies. And had a blast doing it.
Shopping for the cutest rain gear from head to toe was also a key strategic move so she could play and dance in the rain (and look extra ridiculously cute doing it)!. I mean what kid doesn’t love splashing in puddles? Well guess what? We did a LOT of that! I gave her free reign. Get to jumpin’ kid!
So – I can’t take all the credit. A little brown eyed girl had a lot to do with my joy. But had I still been in control freak angry mode…I might have not seen or even allowed all those wonderful things to just be.
Last point – These past few years I have made it a quest to seek out beauty right where I am. And let me tell you – when it rains, that is prime time to find some serious beauty right in your own yard. I honestly think that has also helped my perspective.
I get excited when it rains because I know I can head out when it stops and find all kinds of beautiful dew drops.
Just some ordinary dew drops chilling on a blade of grass. #findbeautywhereyouare
Plus the creek will flow extra high and I can hear it if I open a window. And of course, there’s the potential for rainbows and may flowers and maybe faeries and unicorns if you look hard enough.
I guess what I am saying is: Perspective really is everything. Overcoming the past. Replacing anger/bitterness with childlike curiosity. Trading expectations for the serendipity. Basically, exchanging your grumpy pants for some cute galoshes.
I can’t say I have completely mastered this. At any given moment I am still on a sliding scale of humanness. All I can say is that I strive towards it. I surround myself with like minded people that ground me and pull me back to this direction if I start steering off course.
But, I highly recommend buying some rain boots and to throw out your narrow minded, limited script for heaven’s sake and have yourself a beautiful little rainy gray day!!