Where I Belong…For Now

Categories Life, Self

I discovered a hole in my favorite shirt yesterday.

This shirt has traveled with me for a very long time – I’ve had it for at least as long as I’ve been married so that’s thirteen years for sure. It is faded and stretched and just about to cross into the realm of threadbare. It ceased being “good enough” to wear out in public a long time ago. But it’s comfortable and familiar and so I wear it when I need that, faded and threadbare be damned.

But that hole…well, that tells me it’s about time to retire the shirt. I kind of draw the line at holding onto the tattered remnants of what used to be a shirt. Still, sometimes it is difficult to part with the past, even when we know it is time to move on.

My favorite shirt saw me through many a day in the classroom when I was a teacher. I often chose it on days when I felt a bit under the weather, or a bit tired. It was like taking a little bit of my comfy pajamas to school with me. I wore that shirt on non-dates with my now Husband. I wore it many times during my pregnancy with Zilla. I’ve worn it more days than I can count since I left my classroom career behind and ventured forward on this new (and sometimes frightening) version of life on my own terms.

Mourning the imminent loss of my shirt sparked some reflection on all the things that have happened in my life since I first wore it, a wild and wonderful journey comprised of moments happy, sad, scary, and more…

That reflection has me thinking that sitting here in my office, writing away, is precisely where I belong right this moment. OK, maybe that’s a little bit because it’s really cold outside and I’d much rather be in here looking out at the cold than outside feeling the cold. In all seriousness, though, I realize that even if I’m not quite where I ultimately want to be in life, I’m certainly on my way.

Life is a journey, after all, isn’t it? The journey is different for everyone and even different for each individual at different times in life as we experience things that are easy, hard, painful, joyous, or whatever. I’ve always said that no matter what has occurred in the past, the paths that I’ve taken have brought me to where – and to who – I am today, in this moment. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

So I am happy for this leg of the journey, to be right here doing exactly what I am meant to do…for now.

For now, because this is not for ever. I have many more places to go, things to do, and versions of me to become. I try to focus on enjoying and learning from each day, each step of my journey as much as I can. I remind myself that it is important to be fully in each moment because – at least for a moment – that is exactly where I belong.

Ultimately, these steps along the way make up the me I will become later. Some things I will leave behind, others I will carry with me as I move forward. Some will be positive steps, others will be missteps. But I don’t see the obstacles and bumps in the road as baggage – that has such a negative connotation. I prefer to see them as photographs in a scrapbook, snapshots that remind me of the journey I took to reach right now.

For it isn’t only the destination we remember about the trips we take. It’s also the moments along the way…the great restaurant we stop at for lunch, that little hole-in-the-wall joint we think no one else knows about. It’s remembering having to make repeated trips to the local drugstore for things forgotten in packing, or remembering the time someone got sunscreen in their eyes or was crapped on by a seagull… For better or worse, these images remain just as clear.

I can’t worry about where I haven’t been yet or what I haven’t done, just like I can’t possibly predict the people I have yet to meet who will influence me. I can’t worry about what others have accomplished that I might wish for myself or when I might reach certain goals I have set.

In those moments when I do find myself overwhelmed with worry or frustration, I know I need to remember this: As with all things, it simply isn’t time…yet. But my time will come and all things do fall into place in their own due time. And until those moments arrive, I will have faith in the process and follow the path that stretches before me.

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The places we belong,” brought to you by Hillary Savoie. Last week’s sentence was “When it comes to traveling…”

FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their ideas with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP

 

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

14 thoughts on “Where I Belong…For Now

  1. Thank you so much for this…I needed to read this today: “It simply isn’t time”…after a horrible weekend of trying to find a new caregiver for my daughter. A job that is, of course, always important…but particularly stressful due to her medical fragility. I’m struggling to see what the next steps will yield, because this is the never-ending battle of caring for a child who will always need tremendous support. I cannot see down the road to a time where I can have some security. But, today, teary as I am, angry at the world as I am, I will repeat that mantra to myself: It simply isn’t time. Thank you so much!

    1. I’m so humbled that my words touched you today.
      Bringing my FB comment over here…
      I’m so sorry you’re having that struggle right now. That must be a terribly frustrating situation. I’m glad my words helped you. I truly believe all things do work out, even if in the midst of obstacles it doesn’t seem so. Hang in there! I’ll be thinking of you! ❤

  2. I really like this reminder that now is not everything, and there is always more that will happen and things we have yet to learn and know, and we can’t really do anything until we get to those points in time and deal with the situations as they are in the moment.

    I’m sad about your shirt. I hang onto things til they’re threadbare too. I have a hoodie which has been retired for post-workout only as it’s so frayed. Been going about 15+ years at this point 🙂

    1. Yes, exactly! Now is not all there is. But. There IS something we can do in the meantime and that is to accept and make the most of now, even if it’s not where we want to be. I find that when I am most restless and most dissatisfied is when I am about to make major positive changes or decisions.
      I’m sad about the shirt, too. 😀 I’ll probably just keep wearing it until it falls off because it’s just SO comfortable.

  3. “For it isn’t only the destination we remember about the trips we take. It’s also the moments along the way…” That is so true, and I forget that sometimes. I can be so goal-oriented and focused that I can miss those moments, although I’m learning to take the time as I get older.

    My husband still has a polo shirt that he wore on our honeymoon almost 22 years ago. Normally, I’d toss it in the donation pile, but I kinda like seeing it hanging in our closet.

    1. I think we all have to stop and remember that every now and then, Dana.
      My husband has had a few shirts like that. Some are long gone because they eventually just fell apart. But he still has one or two that just kind of go with him, you know? Like a comfortable old chair – like the one on the show Frasier! 😀

  4. I tried to write something for this week’s FTSF prompt, but I couldn’t quite get any words out about where I belong. I still could have written about that, the struggle and the journey I must be on, but I just couldn’t. Truth is, I don’t know, other than my family, where I belong. They are there for me, but have their own lives too. I hope I can find my place, in time.

    You speak words of wisdom in this post though, the words I couldn’t seem to find. I can relate to the shirt thing. It’s nice having something so comfortable and full of memory. Hard to give such items up. I hope you can hold onto it a little longer, but maybe give it up when the moment is right.

    1. I think we all find our place and time, Kerry. But I kind of think we don’t find it until we have grown into a state of readiness for it. I can think of several examples of this happening for me. It was frustrating in the interim, but in the end it all made sense. The fact that so many people think about this and have a desire to search, to reach for something more or different, says that ultimately humans are meant to always grow and change and develop into the next version of ourselves. It’s a constant quest for self-improvement and that’s not a bad thing.

  5. All I can offer is the journey doesn’t end. Just this morning I wrote a piece (for myself) about the life I thought I would live. It doesn’t look anything like the life I am leading. I love reflective essays, and this is a wonderful one. Safe travels!

    1. You’re right, Nancy, it doesn’t. But I think maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe we’re meant to always strive for more and better so that our spirits keep growing and stretching to be the best we can be. I know exactly what you mean about not living the life we might have imagined – mine currently looks nothing like I would have anticipated. If someone told me even five years ago that this is where I’d be, I would have scoffed. But you just never know and I try as I grow older to remember to embrace and be open to whatever comes along because it could just be the next great thing.
      Thank you for your lovely comment. Safe travels to you as well!

  6. Lisa, I really love this, especially the reminder that so much of each journey is the unexpected things that happen along the way. One of the best meals I ever had was at a hole in the wall driving from Denver to Southern California. I’ll remember it always, including that I left my purse there and we had to go back an hour+ to get it. It was still sitting in the booth. So glad you linked up!

  7. Funny how a garment can hold so much symbolism for us. And I have to say I love this post for so many reasons. First, I have a couple shirts like that. I’ve had them since high school and um…that was 20 years ago. GULP.
    But when you speak of the journey – I so get that. We are all on different paths, different points, and with different life experiences that all lead us to this moment.
    I’m nearing the end of this cycle of a grant – we have been funded for 2, almost 3 years. To that end, we have been rejected on 3 other grants to keep our afterschool program going. We are waiting to hear on one more – in July.
    We’re down to the wire. But you know what? I have entirely mixed feelings. On the one hand, I hope we get renewed: I work with students who are learning English and this program supplements their learning in an after school setting. We employ college students and have many who come through to fulfill a diversity learning requirement. It’s a good program. But, I’m so tired. :/ My personality is such that managing and directing 30-40 college students during the course of a week (not all in one day – we have anywhere from 10-15 students coming to the program) plus all the 40 elementary students and the parents, as well. It’s exhausting. I’m a total introvert. I’m saying this because on the one hand, I want the program to continue, but on the other, I need/want to live life on my own terms – not on someone else’s schedule. And I want to write and draw and teach mindfulness (though I’m not displaying a great example of “detachment” right now, am I? haha) and still possibly tutor students – sort of do what’s called a “slasher” career – still have a “job” but start the journey of truly living life the way I want to. And I hope to do it through an intention project. 🙂 Ah well…I’m writing a novel – but you can tell this post very much resonated. 🙂 Hope you’re feeling all better and sending you hugs!

    1. Isn’t it, though? A favorite shirt, a child’s blanket…memories and comfort and so much else wrapped up in the fibers. I can’t say I have any high school shirts left, but the Hub did bring a couple to the marriage. They have long since disappeared. But new things take their place…
      I completely get your struggle with wanting to continue your program and being OK with it ending. I often think feelings like that are an indicator that maybe it’s time for change and growth. You use the phrase “life on my own terms,” which is exactly what I said (and still do) about leaving teaching to strike out on my own. It has not been easy. It has been downright terrifying. But I’m happier and healthier (not that you’d know that from the last month of germs!) and so is my family. So I know it’s right, even though that fear and uncertainty linger in the background. I’m glad this resonated with you and I love knowing you have similar circumstances. It’s nice to know others understand!
      Feeling better every day and thanks for the hugs!

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