Life is volatile. I often ponder how it can be so full of unexpected ups and downs. Some people are blessed with calm, stable waters and an easy sail on their journey from birth to death. Some people are faced with never ending challenges, heartaches and worries. I belong to the second group. I am always waiting and wondering what storm I will weather next. Therefore, I try to have many contingency plans to help me feel like I have some control, and I arm myself to deal with any adversity that comes my way.
I have a plan to deal with natural disasters that may hit our businesses, such as a fire, earthquake, flood, robbery, or accident.
I have a plan to deal with losing our best employees and/or the core management team members.
I have a plan to handle any major health problem.
I have a plan to deal with car troubles on the road including a collision or just getting lost.
I have a plan for how to survive in case of any financial trouble, like losing my job.
I have a will, a trust, a health care proxy, and a contact person in case of emergency.
In my wallet, I even have a little note with instructions to the first responder for what to do with me.
I can go on and on, but you can see my point.
I am very aware that we cannot be prepared for every curve ball life throws at us, but I recently discovered something that makes me uneasy. I do not have a contingency plan for feeling so lost in my own feelings.
It’s not the numb, foggy state that I often hear about when people talk of depression. It’s not the anxiety that races through my mind. It’s not the loss of will to live. It’s not the devastation of financial problems. It’s not loneliness, isolation or dementia, and it’s not lack of sleep…
I cannot pinpoint the reason for this slight blue feeling that I’ve had for almost a year. I have everything to live for: a tight knit family, a loving husband, loyal employees, great businesses, and a few very good friends. I struggle silently. I search, I listen, I write, and I read with the hope of getting some answers.
Then one early, cold November morning, I was doing my walking routine and listening to a podcast. The story was not anything special or out of the ordinary, but at one point the podcaster talked about his regret. And just like that, the word “regret” wrapped around my heart and warmed my soul. I felt instantly relieved, like a load had just been lifted off my shoulders. I had just self-diagnosed the mental hiccup that occupied and interfered with my daily life. I am in a mid-life crisis where I now question my purpose, meaning, and reason for living. Without intentionally thinking about it, my soul somehow found a way to travel back in time and do a calculation, taking an inventory and adding up all the big events of my life. The result is a massive feeling of regret of all the failures, heartbreaks and mistakes. The unanswered question of WHY?, the loss of loved ones, the never ending scenarios of WHAT IF? all add up and create a huge hole in my spirit. There is not much I can do to change the past, but is there anything I can glean from these experiences to help me be more grateful for the present moment? l feel relief in uncovering the cause of my melancholy but finding the cure will take courage and learning.
I have been a very stoic, practical, problem solver who keeps things private and doesn’t show weakness or vulnerability. But this, this is an unexpected turn of events, a curveball hitting me right in the gut. The culmination of all my life experiences cracking open my heart, and it hurts. Life is messy, imperfect, and hard. Apparently, you can’t sweep life’s mess under the rug, nor can you hire someone to clean it for you. So…here I go, God help me, I’ll pull back that rug. I am prepared to open my wounds and talk about my most private regrets, my doubts, my fears and my disappointments. Surely, peace is waiting on the other side.
Join me in sharing your pain so we can get back to enjoying this precious life.
You matter, your contingency plan matters, let’s talk!