27/04/2009

tiffany's story

whoa! hello monday - how did you get here so fast?

it was, in many ways, a whirlwind weekend. i got some errands done, yes, but most of it was spent trying to catch up from what i didn't get to through the week, and then sitting and waiting for five hours on saturday for the power to come back on after our first spring thunderstorm. (actually, it was more like giving up and going to bed early.)

today's fabulous what's your story feature comes to you from tiffany of the would-be writers guild.
I took my first trip to New York City at 21 years old. Though I had seen the city a million times on TV and movies, I was not prepared for the rapture I would feel standing there and soaking in the city's electricity. I was with my husband and a good friend and the three of us made our way around the city in complete awe, though we wore dark glasses and made it a point to avoid eye contact with anyone (a safety measure in our minds). Without realizing it, my perspective had changed drastically - the world was so much bigger than my hometown and it wasn't nearly as scary as I'd feared. That was a pleasant surprise.

Having my perspective changed has, at times, been painful. When my husband's mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003, I was absolutely certain that she would not die. Why? Because my husband had already lost his father prematurely in 1996, and I thought that there must be some universal rules in place that decreed that while tragedy might strike, it would only happen once. I thought that there was a limit to the suffering one person or family would have to endure. (Go ahead. I'll wait while you say, "DUH!")

She didn't even make it six months.

My perspective changed again - life offers absolutely no guarantees or promises of fairness and equality. At first this was devastating, but eventually it became sort of freeing. No more keeping arbitrary cosmic scores in my head; it was time to live life in the moment. Today is the gift. Most of the time, I'm good at remembering that.

However, last year I lost my grip. My husband had landed his long-anticipated first real job after grad school 2200 miles away from where we lived. We had a complicated laundry list of Things That Absolutely Had To Fall Into Place In a Very Short Period of Time before we moved. I became consumed with the list and obsessed with fear and worry that things would not, could not work out. I became an Olympic-caliber worrier. I imagined thousands of tragic scenarios and lived them out in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep. I offered myself up as a sacrifice to Worry and it swallowed me whole.

My perspective a year later is changed, yet again. This is what I learned: things work out. Either the way we hope, or the way we fear, or a way we never even thought of, things work out. That is the nature of things - time passes and stuff happens. Worry is a robber of time, sleep, and stomach lining. It takes all of your energy and gives you nothing in return. I am most peaceful when I let tomorrow happen tomorrow.

I'm a different person than I was at 20, 25, 30, and even yesterday. Most of the time I'm taking two steps forward, then one step back. Or, one step forward and two steps back. Or, one step forward that actually results in a face plant. But that's the great thing about life, isn't it? It's always moving us somewhere.



remember - everyone has a story. i'd love for you to tell me yours. email me and let's talk - new features get posted every monday.

12 comments:

Soul-Fusion said...

love this Tiffany! Thanks for this great project wunderbug!

Louisa said...

I worry a lot too and it gets me absolutely nowhere. Things do not work out better when I worry more. And things rarely work out the way you think but you're so right, they work out some way. Nice, well-written little piece!

katelynjane said...

Great story! Worry consumes us so easily, it's always great to remember that we're not fully in control of the outcome of our experiences.

This was good to wake up to...a good way to start the day (:

Leslie said...

That's my inspiring sister! Thanks for sharing, Tiff! You are a wise soul and a great example to me!

Julia said...

This was a tremendous story! THank you for sharing!

Jesse C said...

You are great Tiff.

erica said...

this story REALLY encouraged me today. thank you both for sharing it!! :)

aimee heff said...

Your description of what you learned about life working out the way we hoped, or the way we fear, or the way we never thought of really hit me today because I am at a crossroads in which my fear and worry seem to be much more consuming than I would like it to be.

You are a great writer. Thanks for sending the link to this blog. I am a lover of personal narratives.

Mindi said...

I AM TIFFANY'S BIGGEST FAN~

step off, all of the rest of you.

my 'girl crush' should count for something!

as usual, so eloquently put.

Travelin'Oma said...

The most important thing I've learned about life is to live it. Your essay illustrates this so well. Thanks for introducing me to another great blog. I love to read people's stories.

Anonymous said...

I worry about my worrying, which makes me more worried. -James

ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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