While at a group dinner recently a woman in her 40s turned to me and said,
“25 is such a hard age. I feel bad for you. You’re in a constant state of change, trying to make a name for yourself and feeling awkward in your body. It’s just a hard time in life.”
Without much thought I quickly replied, “What? Really? 25 is great. I’m doing what I love, I’m working out more, my relationship is amazing, things are exciting. I feel like I’ve finally got myself figured out this year.”
Two months later my relationship ended, the harsh realities of owning a small business set in and my exciting life turned into a series of sappy breakup playlists and more dirty martinis than I care to admit.
I’ve often heard people say that the most important moments in your life happen in a split second.
Think about that—most major life events happen pretty suddenly. Often rendering you either ecstatic or crushed.
These particular life events left me in a numb state.
After the standard two to three week grieving period where I thought I was feeling the depth of everything I had lost, I suddenly wanted to be okay. I so badly wanted to say, “I’m over it. This stuff happens, I’ll move on.”
I wanted to be happy again. I’ve only ever known myself as a happy person.
So, I started to throw myself into every workout class possible, read a lot of self help books and tried to make sense of everything.
Finally I started feeling more solid in myself.
Things seemed to get better, or so I thought.
While telling a girlfriend and about all of the new things I had been doing and new people I was looking forward to spending more time with, she got quiet.
I wasn’t sure why. Everyone else in my life had been applauding me for how good I seemed.
My friend responded with, “What are you doing? You need to stop thinking everything has to be okay. You need to let yourself feel what you’re actually feeling and stop trying to feel a certain way. You’re driving yourself nuts. Feel what you’re feeling, learn from it and then it go and just be.”
It’s interesting to realize that even though I thought I was feeling my feelings, I wasn’t.
Whether it’s because of traumatic things that happened to us as children, our upbringings or the realities of the world, we build up internal barriers against getting hurt and because of that don’t allow ourselves to really feel.
When you cut off the ability to feel, you cut yourself off from the potential to feel the only real feeling there is—which is love. Unconditional love.
“Your task is not to seek love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
So, love deeply. Feel the depth of that emotion to its core. Cherish it. Feel the pain in your stomach once it ends. Allow yourself to feel the feelings but don’t dwell in the details, accept that everything is in constant flux and be okay with that.
And then, let it all go. Because seeking the highest high of happiness and fixating on that lowest low of your sadness isn’t your reality.
Somewhere in between is an incredible state of being.
A place where in your core you feel nothing but love and no matter the details or event, you’re equipped to deal with it because you know yourself. You’ve spent time feeling everything, learning from those feelings, and you know how to let go of things that don’t serve you.
I think back to that dinner and realize, 25 is no better than 40, or vice versa.
It’s all numbers and details, but with age comes the experience which offers you the amazing ability to feel.
So, I encourage you to have a wealth of experience, feel the feelings and connect with your core.
I plan on doing the same.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Elisa Richardson
Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Muyskens/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of author