As I set out my run, my husband shouted after me, “The wind is going to blow you over today!”. He couldn’t have been more accurate.
I remember an essay I wrote about the wind years ago. I ponder the imagery and decide its time to share it with you now.
Headwind: As you run into it, the struggle begins. It becomes much more difficult to move forward. At times, it forces you backward. You push forward regaining strength and restoring balance at a reduced speed. This invisible force arrives in unseen challenges, a storm rising up in us or an unsuspected circumstantial gust. All that time you feel pushed back. If you make it, you are eventually propelled into a tailwind.
Tailwind: It carries you, sometimes in an unplanned or undesired direction. Less effort is needed to move, with an effortless flow of momentum. You may question the ease of travel, and whether you are truly working hard enough. You tell yourself, you deserve the break from the obnoxious headwind and you coast. The effortlessness nags at you though, as you fearfully anticipate the shift in direction around the bend.
Wind is an awe-inspiring force, a gift hinting at the powerful might of its source. It is unseen, but to deny its effects is ignorance at the highest degree.
So I ask myself, Why am I being challenged? Why has it become such a struggle to move forward even a step? Why am I working so hard to get nowhere?
And the bigger questions follow. Could the wind be strengthening us, readying us to face even stronger forces? Does balance need to be restored? Why are we being propelled in the opposite direction, or perhaps an uncharted direction? And most importantly, are we trying to force our way past the infinite velocity of fate?
When I wrote this, I was hanging by a thread of hope. I had been spending my life in a tailwind facade of success, accolades being received in six-figures. When the wind direction changed, I was blown away.
My whole being was shattered, not knowing who I was anymore. Being a mother and a wife had taken second place for years. Quality time was a farce. There had been no time, period.
And now there was time, way too much time. The deafening silence of time. The anxiety-producing, hollow sound of being in a house alone time. Minutes felt like hours, and dark thoughts grew in the empty space.
I forgot how to eat. I forgot how to sleep. I forgot how to live.
And then the paranoia grew. Everywhere I went, society’s eyes glared at me tellingly illustrating their disgust for my failure. The forced exodus represented my life in entirety.
I had nothing. I was nothing.
All I could do was run, run away from a self I no longer was. I was a prodigal running, from a previous life.
Then it occurred to me, there were others like me. I wasn’t alone.
The connection came back slowly. Connecting to others in word puzzles eased my loneliness. Prodigals were suffering everywhere, and I could now empathize with true compassion. I was humbled. It was time for a repentant return to a simpler life where meaning could be found in daily family activities and in the smiles of my children as I picked them up from school.
The wind had taught me a powerful lesson. I needed to push forward running and writing through the struggles, stay balanced and coast when it wanted to bring me back home.
Work finally became what it was meant to be…work…not life.
And my motto was born,
“Life is work, but work isn’t life.”
-Erika K Rothwell