When Life Disappoints, Just Keep Going


Vertigo. That's the first word that pops up in my head when I sit down to define how I feel right now. In my mind's eye, I see James Stewart climbing a ladder in Hitchcock's universe. I won't fall, I know I won't fall, but the ground seems so far away. Is this the right metaphor to describe what relocating feels like? I know it is for me.

Nine months ago, my partner and I moved to this town knowing we'd have to leave ten months later. Now, a month away from that end date, our world is spinning. We had a vision when we came here but the reality didn't match that vision. We thought we would find a little house with a little garden. We thought the lower costs here would help us save. We thought we'd have the peace and quiet we had been craving for so long after living in the big city for many years.

What we found instead was a temporary apartment with higher costs and a lower income than we expected. We did find quiet but not as much peace as we hoped for. Peace, after all, is a state of mind.

We joke about it sometimes. We say the apartment is cursed. Since we arrived, our savings have been going down, we had a flea infestation, almost all the lightbulbs stopped working, the vacuum cleaner broke, I had a little accident that left me with a blue finger, I had a rough bacterial infection, we had mould problems... To be honest, as much as I dread moving, I can't wait to get out of here.

What happens when our expectations aren't met? Disappointment takes over. Gratitude goes out of the window. We go to a dark place because things are not going the way we wanted them to. When so many things seem to be going wrong, the view is suddenly less spectacular, sunsets less exciting. Every day we have to do a conscious effort to see beauty despite all the challenges. Without beauty, we feel lost.

The energy in the apartment feels heavy but things seem easier when we step outside and seek the comfort of nature. It is then that we look at each other and remember why we're here together, suddenly realising beauty and terror are life's twin children. We observe the changing tide and the algae-covered world it reveals as it retreats. We watch the swifts and swallows darting around, averting one obstacle after another. This is life. This is life. Deep breaths are easy when we're sitting among trees, gazing at the wetlands. We find gratitude again.

It is futile to seek a life where there is only beauty. It is also futile to attempt to weave our own timelines, for we merely walk them. We have less control than we'd like to think, and that's okay

Let us simply walk.
"Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final"
 Rainer Maria Rilke

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