Sometimes it takes crashing down onto the ground to realize what’s actually wrong. We have these skills that allow us to be really good at ignoring the things in our lives that we don’t want to pay attention to. In general, it’s necessary that we don’t pay attention to everything and only give large amounts of our attention to a small number of things at any given time. We can’t function if we are taking in every single thing that comes at us all the time so selectivity is important.
The downside to that is, we have a tendency to misuse this ability. We are really good at being able to pretend that things are different than they really are. We are good at pretending our relationships are sound, when we know that they aren’t. We are good at pretending that next year we will get our lives in order, when we know that we won’t. We are good at pretending we will look for a new job next week, and go back to school next semester. We are good at pretending that we will start our workout routine tomorrow, because we have a lot going on today and it’s really hard to exercise with no one to help me watch Jack (and I totally swam some today, so it does too count, stop telling me it doesn’t!). Okay so maybe that last one was mostly me. But that’s not the point.
The point is, we make priorities. Certain things get put on the back burner. Unfortunately, that back burner is still on. Maybe it’s on low, but if you continuously leave something sitting over an open flame, at some point in time it’s likely to catch on fire. And then that thing that you were planning to do, that thing that you really need to pay attention to ends up going up in flames. And once it’s on fire, that’s when we start to take notice.
Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to fix something once it’s been damaged. It’s not impossible, but it’s a lot harder. If instead of ignoring the problems in the relationship, we had worked on them or at least acknowledged them, we’d be in a better position to keep it. Because it isn’t always that we want to let go, it’s just that we’ve gone too far to know how to get back. And when we’ve been out of school for so long, it’s hard to deal with being older than everyone and going back into an environment where our lifestyle is different than most of the people around us. Fitting things in with our schedules or lack of schedules gets frustrating when there’s not a simple fix and it’s going to require time and effort.
But once that fire is lit, once we start to crash towards the ground, that’s when we open our eyes. That’s when we realize something needs to happen. When that line is crossed and we’ve reached the point of no return. Things cannot stay the same any more. And those are the moments when we finally make the choice to change and to act. Sometimes it takes crashing and burning to find out how we know how to fly.