I turn 38 in a few days and I’m feeling entirely lackluster about the whole situation.
Newsflash: Woman in her late 30s not super thrilled about late 30s getting later.
I guess I feel like more should have happened by now - besides the death of a parent, a miscarriage, and a rather startling collection of breakups. But you really can’t measure your life in Facebook events. Because that is a soul-withering road.
We all want the highlight reel, the one we’ve decided will make us happy. The partner, the baby, the job, the shiny accomplishment that looks oh-so-slick in a snappy bio.
But does all this really make us happy? Oh yes, absolutely. In moments. I imagine some of the very best moments in life are holding your baby for the first time or feeling so deeply grateful for what helped land your goal or marrying your person in a haze of mutual adoration. But these highlights, these moments, don’t necessarily equal a lifetime of bliss.
Any moment can bring joy. Even the painful ones, the ones that crack you open. Because eventually you’ll learn how to mend the pieces. How to put yourself back together like Humpty-Dumpty did after the king’s men wandered off and the story ended. Or you’ll realize that the scars have healed themselves, as wounds often do. The lightness that follows pain is its own joy.
My highlight reel feels a little sparse - and, yes, I do care about that perceived paucity - but my soul hasn’t withered. I’ve tended to it, often relentlessly. Just as I’ve tended to my heart. Both have been filled with light, and the cracks filled with gold.
One thing I have learned: Those of us who are deeply sensitive, who feel a lot, who process a lot, who sometimes think we are doing nothing with our lives but feeling and processing - we aren’t just feeling and processing for ourselves. We’re feeling and processing for everyone.
It may feel like you’re just sitting in your bedroom crying - but you are feeling for the entire world. You are healing thousands of people, maybe even millions.
When you process that heartbreak, you are making the heartbreak of others easier to bear. When you feel that grief, you are easing the pain for others on the planet. For those who may not have the luxury of time or access to the tools that we have.
It won’t win us any awards or commendations, no one can even prove we’re doing it (yet) - but I would argue that this is some of the most important work a human person can do.
Lately, whenever I work with a client and they ask why it feels so hard, why the world feels so heavy right now, I always receive the same answer: Because you aren’t just feeling for yourself, you’re feeling for the world. Because you aren’t just healing for yourself, you’re healing for the world.
It’s so easy to forget that this applies to me too. To get down on myself for not having done more, having been more. But shame has no place in light, and it doesn't get to take any more of mine.
You’ve probably heard the term lightworker, and if you’re reading this right now, chances are good that you are one. Because you’re infusing this planet with much-needed light and desperately-sought love. Even when you don’t know you’re doing it.
Next time you’re feeling sad or lost or unsure, pull light into the experience. Imagine light filling your dented heart. Pour light over a tricky situation. Ask for light to be applied to any moment, any event, any hurt. You don’t even have to do it yourself, you just have to request that it be done - and it will be.
Light. You have it. I have it. No matter what our Facebook feeds look like.
(That said, I really hope 38 is the year my highlight reel gets dusted off and starts rolling again.)