“How’s everything? How was your summer?”
I actually never know how to answer this. Like actually, I don’t.
It is a bit too huge of a question for my brain. Do you mean the whole summer, because that is like a lot of days… Like, how was the entire season?
I think this may be a little unconventional, but I don’t actually categorize life’s stuff into how things are very much.
Perhaps this plays a small role in why I am a bit stumped on how to answer.
And my other challenge with this question is-
Do you really want to hear what’s been going on? Like the truth? Because I don’t really do it any other way…
Summers have a way of being everything and nothing all at once. No matter how long the days get, everyone always says how fast it flies by.
Our summer started off with a bit of an adjustment period, as all 4 kids were under our roof for the first time in a year. Of course, it was SOOOOO wonderful to have our college girl home, but I forgot how much yelling goes on when 4 kids share one old, dilapidated bathroom.
By the time we all got into the groove with summer jobs, camps, and what not, it was the 4th of July. I know it sort of marks the middle of the year, but I’ve also noticed it’s when time inexplicably speeds up.
Don’t blink! In a minute, it’ll be New Years Eve.
Anyway… We did not take any big family trips, (*please refer back to the yelling mentioned above), but I was craving some mountain-time. David and I did get away for a few nights to Luray, VA. We hiked a bit and relaxed at the cutest A-frame Airbnb. (Let me know if you want their direct contact for a possible friends/family savings.)
Then, right before my birthday, I landed myself a trip to the ER, with what turned out to be an excruciating little devil-of-a-thing, called a “corneal abrasion”! Waves of the most painful hell would wash over me every few minutes, scaring the crap out of me, so when the doctor identified it, I was actually grateful.
All I will say is- It was worse than all 4 pregnancies and C-sections combined. I don’t recommend.
Once the Tylenol took the edge off a little (THANK GD!), I noticed the oddest thing. My poor eye was in a continuous state of “cry”. I wasn’t simply leaking tears, but my nerves and muscles around my eye were stuck in that usually fleeting sensation of pricking of tears.
When have I ever cried without it being connected to emotion?
The whole thing was exhausting.
I tried to lean into what the bigger message was for me to take away from all of it. Maybe I was releasing something? I definitely had immense gratitude to have my vision. I thanked my eyes for all they do for me and for the cleansing, healing nonstop flow of tears.
I should say, I am no stranger to tears.
They spring forth when I am happy and sad, of course, but I would say, most often, it’s when I witness other humans experience the harmony and enchantment of life.
My kids are always showing me videos they find, counting the seconds for me to cry, just so they can say, “Mom! OMG! Why are you crying!?”
Honestly it can happen almost anytime: a sports game, TV show/or commercial, a surprise homecoming, a Broadway show, the Olympics, the Gold Buzzer on AGT… You name it, I’m cry. Actually, now that I wrote that, I can see why the kids try to test this out all the time.
On a side note: One thing I know for sure is since these eyes will not be using contacts in the foreseeable future, I absolutely deserve to shop for at least one new pair of glasses!
A couple weeks later, I found myself in another bizarre situation.
What I thought was food-poisoning, ended up being some sort of prolonged stomach virus. I was in uncharted territory, as, thankfully, this is not something I’ve experienced before.
I am so grateful no one else in my house got it! I did find it interesting though- another physical ailment just for me. Indeed, I tried to find the silver lining – Maybe I will actually lose a few pounds before this virus is done with me.
But alas, on day 3, when I awoke to my alarm and ran to the bathroom, (same as the whole day before), I didn’t know I wouldn’t be moving much for the next few weeks.
Ignoring how crappy I felt, I took the five steps over to our bathroom sink, thinking I’d get ready for the day.
And then I heard, “Elyse! Elyse! What the hell just happened?” It was David’s voice yelling from above.
Yikes! Um… I don’t know… What the hell DID just happen?
Apparently, I fainted. (*This is not an uncommon side-effect from dealing with a stomach virus apparently.)
Unfortunately, my body was unable to catch or support the fall, being unconscious. As David was calling my name, I didn’t really want to come back into my body. Wherever I had ‘gone’, it was so peaceful and pain-free there. As I emerged, all I could say was, “My knees!!!”
Losing consciousness… losing control… As much as my knees are injured, the outcome could have been a lot worse.
Still. For me, this seems a metaphor for every day life.
Listen. Everyone’s chaos is different, but I don’t need to measure it. My friend likes to tell me when they are in the thick with their kids and chaos, “I always think of you, and how the hell you are doing it all with four and I only have two…”.
And I always tell her, however many kids you have- it’s all you know, so in a way, it’s really the same.
And besides, curious who said I was doing ANYTHING, never mind “it all”?
But, as I was saying earlier, I’ve made it a practice to get comfortable with uncertainty. I encourage you to learn and practice this essential life skill too.
It will keep you healthy.
Some days are smooth. Quiet even. Without wrinkles, grit or texture. Other days are prickly, scratchy. We may even find ourselves working extra hard to iron the shit out of something that was never meant to be smooth in the first place.
Also, not everything needs to be FIXED. Is it even broken in the first place?
One of my answers I give to “How’s everything?” is, Well, every day’s new…
Do you think we are supposed to be trying to achieve a sameness somehow?
Do you actually WANT every day to be Groundhog Day???
Then answer me this:
WHY ARE PEOPLE UPSET BECAUSE LIFE IS UNCERTAIN AND UNPREDICTABLE?
Perpetual order IS NOT, HAS NEVER been, and NEVER WILL BE the norm… So, if you realize today you’ve been striving for a certain predictability and find yourself not tolerating uncertainty very well, I want you to know, it is time to snap out of it!
This is not only a waste of your precious time and energy, but a sure-fire way to set yourself up to fail, leaving you and your loved ones in a state of anxiety and depression.
Listen closely please:
EVERY day, ALL day, things happen to EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, whether you planned for it or didn’t.
THIS is the ONLY thing we should teach ourselves and our children to expect.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
Everything else is
I believe it is a mistake to believe our lives are supposed to look a certain way or that something went “WRONG” just because it is painful.
I do practice being open and neutral as possible. Whatever it is, it is. This is not meant to sound negative or indifferent. I do feel like thinking this way is like a muscle that needs to be used often, so we can be agile in adapting to whatever life throws our way.
I guess what I’m saying is- I prefer to practice whole-hearted acceptance of life and all of it’s uncertainty.
It just IS- Resist the pull to attach unnecessary weight to it!
Whether we prepare ourselves to go into a day of battle, or we are swept up with the chaos of the unexpected… Every day is new and sometimes it is a feel good day and sometimes we walk away with scars.
Speaking of this… A friend of mine posted this photograph the other day:
“I walked away from this… Yesterday on my way to work someone changed lanes into the side of my car, running me into the wall and flipping my car at the top of a draw bridge.“
The second I read this, I burst into tears. Every emotion bubbled up from deep within me.
Four days later, she posted again…
This time asking for recommendations for a good scar cream.
“How’s Everything? How was the summer?”
It flew by in the blink of an eye… I laughed, I cried. I removed unwanted pathogens and cleansed. And I fell to my knees… In gratitude.
Thank YOU for listening.
👉🏼PS. Days after I wrote this, Israel was attacked and now in the middle of a horrific war. I just want to mention this: Many years ago, an amazing Israeli author and speaker, Inbal Arieli, taught me Israeli’s have a certain something embedded into their DNA, their culture, their way of life, their upbringing- allowing them as a people, to always be ready for a life filled with chaos and uncertainty.
Here is one of her many articles.
God Bless Israel 🇮🇱.