Tonight, I had the most invigorating run I can remember having in a long time. The wind was howling, the trees were reaching out to one another far above my head and the sky felt big. So big and vast and dominant. The rain was falling lightly and the combination of all these sensations made me feel alive. Properly alive. It was one of those rare moments of pure and utter joy that you can feel in every cell of your body. That make you realise how often you’re sleeping through the rest of your life.
In the wake of tragedies like Saturday’s terror attack at London Bridge, on the street I used to work on and walk every day, it is totally normal to feel desperately sad, confused, scared, reflective and out of sorts. It hit me as much as ever, perhaps more so, knowing the area intimately and being just up the road having drinks in Soho when it happened.
But this is not a post about terror. Or fear. Or death. It is a post about being alive. And breathing life into our own lives. Not only in the days that follow, when we are so grateful for everything we have, before it becomes a memory and we resume our lives again, because we can.
But in ALL the days of our lives.
Every single, precious one.
In two weeks’ time, I turn 40.
This is a milestone I was afraid of a year ago. The thought of getting older and hitting another decade horrified me. How did that even happen?
But that reaction makes no sense. Because getting older is exciting. And we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to do it. To have more experiences under our belts. More wisdom. More days.
Why would we ever resist that in favour of not growing older at all?
Possibility is everywhere.
My life is probably more uncertain, more unmapped at 40 than I’d ever expected it to be. If I’d ever let myself think about turning 40, of course.
Mostly, this doesn’t scare me. The sense of possibility actually invigorates me. But in the wake of Saturday (and the Sunday and Monday that followed), I felt alone. I missed having a strong person by my side. To reassure me that it would be ok. To share, equally, the responsibility of raising three kids in an uncertain world.
Then, this evening, I went for my run. I was alone in the wind, the rain and that expansive, limitless sky, putting one foot in front of the other. My body felt strong. The universe felt stronger. And the sense of loneliness just vanished. I knew right then and there what I needed to do.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Moments of clarity.
If we’re too busy, we can miss these moments of clarity. But they are there, begging us to take notice.
They are in every experience we have. The good. And the not so good. Sometimes, it is the experiences that initially make us feel sad, desperate or that we’ve lost our way, that light our paths the brightest.
Because every experience, good and bad, are ours to own. They are part of one of our precious days. And our stepping stone to the next.
We haven’t lost our way at all.
The way just looks a little different than we’d imagined.