I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that once I got out of high-school, life would be a breeze. And then I thought finishing university would do it. Getting married? Maybe? OK. Definitely once we’ve bought our first house and settled down…
You get the picture.
Maybe I’m a really slow learner, but it wasn’t until I was looking after elderly parents and seeing all the decisions and losses they had to face that I finally accepted that, actually? No. Life doesn’t at any point get easier.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but I feel so much better for having learned it.
And now what I’m trying to figure out is, what do we tell the young ‘uns? Because I think they have the same ideas I had. They seem to think that once the schooling’s over, once they’ve made the career and lifestyle choices, it’ll all be sewn up and they’ll just cruise on through. Which may be what they need to believe just to make it through exams and the first round of interviews. I’d hate to be the one to stop anyone’s progress.
But life not getting easier is really no bad thing. Easy very quickly turns into boring. And while the challenges remain and, frankly, get more life-threatening with each passing decade, the compensations grow apace. You learn perspective. You learn to value the present moment and all the lovely people in it.
Once you give up the idea of life getting easier, you can relax and let it take you to places you never thought you’d care to go. You find strengths in yourself that you never knew you had. You can allow your heart to soften, knowing that you’re so not the only one facing difficulties.
We all have challenges to face. That’s what makes us human.
Robert Browning wrote:
…I prize the doubt
Low kinds exist without,
Finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark.
Getting easier? It really isn’t the point of a life well-lived. But if the thought strikes fear into your heart, remember, there are always vacations, naps, weekends, moments of respite. Take those moments as you need so you can rest up and enjoy the adventure.