When I was a young girl at Northridge Elementary School, the hallways seemed so wide. But when I went back to those same familiar corridors of my childhood as an adult, it seemed like the walls had magically shrunk closer together. That, or that I was now a giant.
My limited perceptions have changed and will continue to change.
I never would have imagined ten years ago that I would now call myself a runner. That I would run for fun almost every day. The unbelievable miracle to be able to run a marathon and other long distance races.
I never would have believed you if you said I'd become one of those weirdo vegan people. An unbelievable impossibility that I would give up a nice juicy steak, the treat of stopping for a scoop of creamy Baskin-Robbins ice cream, a smooth smear of butter on homemade bread. That I would love and crave vegetables more than any other food and how drastically tastes can and do change.
If you told me ten years ago that I would be a photographer, become a massage therapist, a blogger with readers from all over the world, and that orange would become one of my favorite colors to wear, I would look at you and laugh.
I now know that transformation is totally possible.
I once thought that the relationships I developed and shared would always stay the same. Close, connected, and intimate. That those cherished and beloved friendships throughout the different stages of my life would never end. That these tender feelings would never alter or change. That those people I so loved and needed would always be there for me. And I for them.
Now I know and am coming to accept that people change. Circumstances change. Needs change. People come and go, and that sometimes we each go in different directions. Slowly coming to understand that all relationships take conscious and deliberate effort, care, work, and nourishing to be sustainable, to be maintained, to flourish, and to grow. Realizing now the impermanence in my life, in my surroundings, and in my relationships with other people. Instead of holding onto unrealistic expectations and assumptions, grasping and clinging to what sometimes brings disappointment and disillusion, I can allow, release, and just let go.
Let people go, let things be. Wake up and see things as they really are.
I once thought that I would grow up, marry my Prince Charming, ride off into the sunset and together with our handful of children, live happily ever after.
Now I know that this dream of happily ever after includes the hard truth of day-to-day struggle. That every family will experience heart-ache, sadness, pain, and trial. I never would have imagined that each of my children would face these kind of individual challenges and suffering. That I myself would experience my own loneliness, disappointment, and pain. All of these difficult realities that life can throw at a person. And at the same time, all the unimagined joys, the smiles, the laughter, the victories, the unity, the growth, and the satisfaction that comes to a family. To each individual and to each relationship. The beautiful, meaningful, and precious every-day moments that are always, always there if we would only open our eyes with mindfulness and gratitude.
Love is the family foundation that will support and sustain, even during the hard times.