by Stacie Hammond, July 1, 2020
3 - 4 min read
I've been reminiscing a lot, lately...
Pull up a seat, put your feet up, and I'll tell you a story...
See, I was a people-pleasing little girl. I was impeccably behaved in adorable little dresses that twirled when I'd spin around and curtsy. Petite, polite, well-mannered, good grades, a cheeky smile, and I listened to my folks. I chased faeries through ferns in the backyard and was delighted to be their Queen. I took good care of them.
I was born into a life of beautiful, magical stories and endless hope and dreaming. I went to Sunday School and learned my commandments and I looked both ways when I crossed the street. I helped set the table. I helped my neighbors. I was a good girl and I lived in a beautiful and sheltered world.
And I'm glad to have grown up in a world with fewer gadgets and more actual face time, where we spent so much of our youth riding bicycles and playing tag and throwing jacks and trading game cards and bubble gum. And finding secret hiding places to curl up with my books and read into new worlds and new adventures. (I read Pride & Prejudice about seven times, as a teen.)
Simpler days. We were lucky kids and they were good, good times.
In adolescence and into adulthood, life would test me, tease me, trip me, hurt me, and push me down, hard. Life would walk over me; walk past me, and laugh at me. Heartbreaks, betrayals, bad habits, confusion about the future, financial strain. Worry. And I stumbled a lot. I made so many mistakes, some over and over again, but I also accomplished incredible things that I never, ever thought I would. I just kept surprising myself. I learned to challenge myself, as I set goals and pushed myself forward through life, despite what anyone else said. It wasn't easy, but I began to notice the patterns - when change came, the fear also came. Like a wave, it would wash in and move things around, and then wash out again. And as long as I could stand back up, if I could get on my feet again, I knew I'd be fine for a while. And what has always kept me sane was a notebook and a pen and seeing life as a story.
In the past five years, I've blogged and written and dug deep and turned myself inside out trying to get to the roots of who I am and why I'm here what I have to say. And after traveling the country and emptying my guts and chasing my triggers and using therapeutic tools and doing the work - the soul work, the mindset work, the wellness work, the household work - I would get so close to finding an answer. And of course, it only asks more questions... and so it goes... and goes...
And in the ongoing exploration, in the very awareness that I am alive and participating in something bigger than me, I remember, where I've been and what matters most. After so much searching, my strategy is that simple - I pause and reflect upon my life, so far. Hard times don't last, and good times don't always last. So, I've learned to cherish and absorb the good times, and have faith and learn through the bad times. Joy, love, and beauty live inside us and all around us and where we cannot find these things, we can cultivate or uncover them - in moments - while we wait for that sweet comfort to return. And sometimes, a deep breath and a moment to count our blessings, is enough.
In our homes, in our gardens and porches and stoops and balconies, in our families and relationships and work-places and communities, in our art and creativity and dreaming - life can be very simple, but it often takes a long time and a lot of mistakes to come to understand and appreciate something so simple.