To my handful of loyal readers:
You have my permission to skip this posting if you so desire. I will probably sound rather polemic and, perhaps, even judgmental - but that's not my intent. As always, the real point of this posting is self-discovery and self-acknowledgment of my own foibles. Since this entire blog is really just therapy for me, you are obviously under no obligation to ponder my musings.
Having said that....here's what I now know...
When we think others are screwing up our lives - we are wrong.
External stuff sometimes sucks. To be fair, it sometimes sucks in a very serious way and - because of our situation - we might have to put up with it for what seems to be an interminable period of time. As I've previously mentioned, people are sometimes complete...well...________s. (I think we all have our own special word for those people who relish cruelty and anger. Feel free to fill in the blank with the word of your choice.)
As I've wandered through life, I've tried to either avoid or charm these ______s. Neither approach works on an ongoing basis and I've learned the hard way that running away from painful situations does me no good whatsoever. To the contrary, I'm even less prepared when I come across the next ______. And there's always another______.
We strive for so many things in life: love, successful careers, freedom, financial independence...and when one of these turns out to be less than we imagined, we think that something else must be our magic elixir. We're wrong. I hate to be the one to put it in writing, but none of these things is the key to our happiness or sadness.
I wish the stuff on the outside would fix it all - but what I've learned during the last few months is that unless I've got some sense of inner peace, nothing on the outside is going to make a bit of difference in how I really feel. It's a real bummer because it would be so much easier to just tweak a relationship or job than it is to tweak myself.
And here's the other complication. My search for inner peace is a journey that will never end. As a matter of fact, the title of this blog sums it up rather well - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back." Some days I'm a lot closer to it than I am on other days. I finally understand that sometimes I have a day when I'm further away from peace and security - but that doesn't mean I'm a failure...it just means I'm having a rough day. Maybe the ______s got to me. Maybe my allergies are bad. Maybe I'm just not in the mood. But it's a day. It's just 24 hours - and all the external stuff will float on by like dandelion seeds. (Admit it. You still blow dandelion flowers. So do I.) At the end of the day, I'm still here. Maybe a relationship is gone, maybe a job is gone, maybe it even feels as if my sanity is gone - but I'm here.
Sometimes I think life/God/Allah/destiny takes our security blankets away just to prove that we don't need them. Then once we get them back, we can smile and enjoy them but not cling to them.
So that's what I've learned. I promise that my next posting will be more lighthearted.