For the last few years, I’ve learned to embrace reflections and ruminations. So when I find my anxiety spiking and when I lay in bed convinced that the elephant on my chest is squishing the life out of me, I realized this is a perfect time to reflect on where I’ve been. So I sit down and read my notes and realized, I wish I’d found solace in my mind’s mirror earlier in life.
I wasn’t always this “optimistic”. In actuality, I’m not really an optimist but rather a realist with positive seeking tendencies. In fact there was a time; I was convinced the world was out to get me. I was positive about that. Everything seemed to be going wrong and I couldn’t see that light at the end of the tunnel. It was then that I realized I am going to start writing. And I am writing for me and for all those who read it. Things I wish I could tell my younger self.
I need reminding too. When life goes all backwards, and I feel off it’s nice to know I can go back and remind myself that reflections are good. They show us the strength of things we have already overcome. They allow us to look at the mistakes we’ve made and learn from them. More importantly though, they give value to the path we’ve walked showing us the highs and lows in our life.
Reflections show us the stuff that makes us who we are. I’ve always said I want to live my life with no regrets. I’ve said I have no regrets. No matter how bad the things I’ve been through are, I embrace them. Maybe not happily but confidently. They have made me the person I am.
The experiences in our past made us who we are. Change one of those experiences and we may or may not be the person we are today. I discovered that and while I may not “love” all my life experiences, I’ve had to embrace them to be ok with myself. They have prepared me to look on life just a little differently than others I know. I have learned to pause before I react or at least before I let my reactions get the better of me, most of the time. I still have a few things to work on too.
That’s the joy of being where I am in my life is that I’ve learned I can reflect, regroup, and respond. Thomas Paine sums up how I’ve learned to look at life and reflections: “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows by reflection.”
I’ve taken it one step further though. I’ve learned that this is a skill to pass down to my children. When they are struggling with life, we sit down and guide the conversation of reflections and ruminations. Then I let them think about it. Now Christian, 15 years old, who struggles with ADHD and the occasional moments of confidence issues, needs time to reflect on life with bullet points. School grades are apt to throw him off. He can have A’s and B’s in all but one class, but that one class is the one that gets under his skin.
With Emelie, at 12 years old, it’s a guided tour to show her how she has “ruled” her Autism and not allowed her Autism to dictate the path she has been on. Sometimes, we just have to give her the cues but other times we have to walk her whole journey. Yet, she learns that looking back to the past and embracing it has pain but joy with it.
So, reflections and ruminations can be done by you in solace and quiet. However, there are times that when you share those moments with people who understand and can remind you when you find yourself at a crossroads. Life is meant to be lived and shared and celebrated and embraced.
Don’t forget to take a moment for yourself!