We Never Know (some thoughts about 2016)

2016 has gone now, and it took a lot of famous people along with it. David Bowie. Alan Rickman.  Gene Wilder.  Prince.  Garry Shandling.  Florence Henderson.  Doris Roberts.  Glenn Frey.  Muhammad Ali. George Michael. Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds only one day apart. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Of course, I didn’t know these people personally, but many of those who passed this year were integral parts of my life in a lot of different ways, so it hit me harder than other years.

Then there were the wonderful people I DID know personally who lost battles they’d been fighting for years. And animals I loved who unexpectedly crossed the rainbow bridge. And friends who experienced major life changes and difficulties. And my own struggles and failures and fears.

Loss. So many events that are worthy of mourning.

Yet, I think that in these losses 2016 was showing us a great truth.

We never really know what’s going to happen.

Never.

Sometimes life just rears up and smacks us in the face and we’re not prepared for it.

Sometimes a wave washes over us and we get swept away.

Sometimes we take a turn, step a step, and it changes our lives forever.

We’re going down a path, we take one fork instead of another. We leave the house five minutes early, or five minutes late. We stop for coffee instead of going directly to work. We go to a friend’s house instead of heading home. Every one of those little decisions can impact the course of our lives.

We never really know what’s going to happen. We just fool ourselves into thinking that we do. That’s when a day or a month or a year like 2016 comes around and reminds us that we don’t have a clue.

Did Carrie Fisher know when she got on the plane in England that it was going to be her last flight? Of course not.

Did George Michael know he was going to bed for the last time? No.

Life is uncertainty.

But isn’t that also its beauty? Isn’t that what makes life so precious? Because we never know when everything is going to change, we should embrace every day, every hour, every second that we’re given. Nothing is certain, so nothing is static, and nothing should be taken for granted.

After all, even if we cower in our homes because we’re afraid of the possible changes, our lives will still come and go. Only then when they go, we’ll realize we haven’t lived at all.

Then there’s the fact that, although everything can change in an instant, it doesn’t always change for the worse. Everything can change for the better, too. Sometimes we face loss unexpectedly, but sometimes the little decisions we’ve made save us in a lot of different ways. This year I witnessed and experienced loss, but I also witnessed and experienced a miracle or two.

We’re not locked in. LIFE is not locked in. And that means we have opportunity. This second we can change who we are and what we’re doing.  We can still be the people we were meant to be.

Honestly, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do anyway? We’re not supposed to waste life. We’re not supposed to throw it away or let it drip through our fingers because we’re not paying attention to it.

I think that was the lesson 2016 was teaching us. Pay attention, because everything changes and we never know exactly when it will. There may be ending or loss, but there will also be joy. There always is, no matter the year. There will be loss in 2017, but there will be joy as well.  Mourn the losses, but embrace the joy.

Life is precious and life is precarious. Don’t waste it. Take the blessing of however much time you’re given and make it your own.

That’s what I’m going to try to do.

With varying degrees of success.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. So very, very true and a good way to look at things. It’s easy to be miserable for losses, but we have to remember to be thankful for the good, as well. We do tend to try and think of life as static, but it’s not, and never will be. We can only effect the things closest to us, and even then we can’t control them. What I am trying to remember is to make the most of each day because you don’t know that you’ll have this exact opportunity again. You’re right in that you can’t let it just dribble through your fingers; you can determine what you do, how you do it, and your attitude – and that’s all.

    • Betsy Horvath says:

      @Athena: I think we get comfortable in the way things are and forget that everything changes. Then we get a reminder – either for good or bad. All we can do is the best we can do in this moment because we really don’t know what’s going to happen in the next one. Which is a heck of a lot easier said than done!!

  2. <3

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