“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up,” Muhammad Ali. I love this for a lot of reasons. My mother is about to have knee surgery and I feel her anxiety dripping off of her. It’s not like I don’t understand, it’s an overwhelming experience especially if you haven’t had surgery like that in a while. Throw in preparations with COVID etc. and it is a scary undertaking. But I see her and it is a reminder that this is a new beginning for her. She is waking up. For so long she kept herself quiet about the pain and she did what she needed to do to get through the day. Now she is taking a step forward in her life and she is going to start fresh. I think part of her is afraid to let go of the pain because that is all she knew.
It’s a wonderful reminder to all of us that no matter our age, we can always start again. We can find what gives us purpose and what brings us joy and simply let go of the rest at any time. The biggest obstacle is ourselves. It’s our mind and whether or not we are trained to see the opportunity in the obstacle. Sometimes the greatest results come after the detour. I know in my family we spend a lot of time dwelling on the negative and even forecasting the negative. Most of it is out of fear, control and our greatest friend, anxiety. It’s not like we WANT to be that way, but regardless of the desire, we have to work very hard to see the positive. So seeing the positive is our way of waking up.
I used to think the world was an extremely unkind place. I watched as the dreams I had for myself would be dashed over and over again as I wished repeatedly for a peaceful life, a successful life, a secure life. The reality is, I sacrificed over and over again hoping that would get me what I wanted when in reality, all the universe wanted me to do was to take an opportunity and hold on. “Pick one,” she said, “I will take you where you want to go but for Pete’s sake, stop letting everything pass you by.”
I learned that you can’t keep letting things fall out of your grasp and then expect them to return. There comes a point when it isn’t nobility in hoping for another chance at something. It’s insanity to keep letting it pass you by. So it’s time to wake up and seize the moments we have while we have them. I’m still working on getting clear on this, don’t mistake it, but I know with everything in my soul that it is time to release the martyr act and take the moments that are mine. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t meant to be. I don’t want to hold onto the pain, hoping some day someone will relieve it for me when all I need to do is stop choosing pain.
And that is a scary undertaking because as I see my mother, her fear about the pain is the same as mine. I don’t know what my life looks like on the other side. I don’t know what my life looks like outside of the control to avoid the pain. I don’t know what life looks like embracing things as they are because I’ve always gotten scared and started controlling again. All I know is that it still sounds tempting and I want to let go of the control before I let go of all the chances that may come my way. So as my mother awakens, so does the daughter. And as she releases her control, so do it. Together we step into our new selves and we learn to navigate this. We heal together, her physically, me generationally. I can make peace with the past and simply move on.