Last week, my husband and I returned from a dream vacation. After getting married in October almost 4 years ago, our honeymoon was a two day visit to nearby Niagara Falls. We have visited the Falls many times and called it “another part of our honeymoon” each time we returned, but always wanted to go on a classic, week-long, beach vacation with just the two of us. We finally got to go and now, I have to say, I never want to return to normal life. During the trip, we relaxed, took in the beauty, lived in the moment, and savored every minute of every day. Instead of time flying by or coming to a halt, I felt like it carried on just as I would want it to: gradually and moderately. We spent time talking and most importantly, we spent time together not talking. Both were wonderful. Not once on this trip did I have a flashback, PTSD ripple of pain, or panic attack regarding the accident. Sure, I was afraid on the plane, I was scared in the open seat taxi, but it was amazing to have a break from the little cloud floating above my head that sends lightning pain through my cheek and thunder through my brain. I felt like when we were there, I could just exist. I could just be. It was amazingly liberating.
As I am now home in my slightly unkept house, I miss having someone to clean my living space, I miss living in a small uncluttered area, I miss being where I can see beauty everywhere i turn. I could go on and on about the things I miss, but I think most of all, I miss that feeling of being completely untangled from the accident. Since being home, I’ve been exposed to many extremely large and unexpected sounds which have caught me dead in my tracks and sent my brain racing back to that moment. Less than a week of being home, I had another truck try to enter my lane while I was driving. It was scary. I have felt ripples of pain again. I’ve given my mind back to the planning, organizing, and fretting over each daily event. I’m already sick of it and I’ve only been home for 6 days.
I am longing for that inner peace, that calm I received both during my trip and immediately following the accident. I feel as though I found something: maybe directions on how to live a fulfilling and satisfying life, the ultimate secret, and yet somehow I lost it. I find myself searching to feel the same way I felt during the healing process: experiencing a new zest for life, an appreciation for each little thing, and a deep understanding of what is right. Instead, right now, I feel plain, stale, like an old piece of my favorite bread. I am trying desperately to hold onto the positivity that came from the accident. I know the important lessons are there, but I find myself growing tired and unenthused about the everyday life necessities. It’s all so banal. This is a feeling I sometimes experienced immediately following the accident, but now it seems more so than ever. It’s not that I don’t appreciate life. I think it’s more that I am sick of having to deal with the everyday stuff, because all I want to do is go out into the world and celebrate what is important: Love, Relationships, and Experiences.
Having come home and then immediately having visited family, I have found everyday life to be exceedingly difficult. I desperately want to balance my career life with family life better (work less), but I want to make money to gain experiences. I guess we all feel that way at some point in our lives. Perhaps part of life is learning to live with the imbalances and ever occurring struggles, the unsolvable issues that we face. Each day we battle to create something in this world and leave that creation behind while trying to get some enjoyment and fulfillment at the same time.
I’ve wondered before if moving to the Caribbean and scooping ice cream for a living would make me happier. In many ways, I think it would, but then again I’d be away from the people I care about most and I know I would feel I wasn’t giving everything I had to give to this world. God gave us all gifts. There was a taxi driver on our stay that said something that stuck, “We all know when we do something wrong, we’re wrong. When we do something right, we know we’re doing right.” I think God gives that to us. A little compass in our heart that keeps us on the right path despite wanting to stray to a less satisfying short cut. God gave us all gifts so that we can use them. We know that’s what we’re supposed to do. I know teaching music is what I’m supposed to do, but I think sometimes I need a little nudge to remember that life isn’t just about enjoying oneself but rather giving back to others.