I just finished a really enchanting memoir. This book had me doing all the things I love to do with a really great story... laughing, crying the whole thing. I know it's a good book when I continue to re-hash its events over and over in my mind. The story will settle into an understanding I didn't have while reading it. Sometimes my perception changes of certain scenes. What was sad and depressing, actually makes a different kind of sense to me a week after completing the book. That, to me, is a really good book. This one was like that- I found myself thinking, and rethinking of the title. Life's That Way.
When reflecting on my own life, I recognize a very common theme. Common meaning we all as humans have the same circumstances in one way or another that make us feel and connect at a very human level, with very human emotions. It's recognizing this commonality that sets us apart because we all do it in different ways, different areas of the world under different circumstances and from different backgrounds.
My own journey has been one of multiple up, down and sideways events. I can look back still and remember sequences of life happening in such a way to have shaped my life as I know it now as if it were literally a few moments ago. Like when I was 9 and my dad had me drive my sister and I home from the stables we kept our horses at after dark on the I5 freeway from San Juan Capistrano to Mission Viejo. I can still feel my little legs tight against the steering wheel of the Mustang as I sat on his lap while he operated the gas and brake pedal. I can hear his voice warning me not to tell my mom that he had me driving I can smell his dirty alcohol stained breath as he coached me the whole way home. The memory was one like a good book is now, it didn't really bear any importance or value until a few months ago when I was folding towels letting my mind wander and this particular memory hit me upside the head. I had to sit down and allow myself to recollect the situation and mull it over and over to iron out details. It was fun and harmless then, it is not now.
What details grab me now didn't grab me at the time. The impact my own memior has on me as I was going through the living part of it didn't bear any resemblance to what it does now in my 34 year old psyche. My mothers soft touch of her hands on my face, a boyfriends breakup in high school, my sisters lighting in her room while she put on her makeup. Becoming pregnant for the first time at 21, watching my mother fight and succumb to cancer. The making and losing of dear friends. The absolute joys of raising my children. The warming feeling of unconditional love, and finding it in my husband. The moment I found out I was pregnant for the third time, feeling to my core it was my daughter. Becoming aware that my life goes on and on regardless of the seemingly endless experience of illness, prosperity, relationships, family drama, and general life is what absolutely makes my experience unique to anyone else.
What is not unique is that I have them. I experience everything everyone else does. Sure to different degrees and at different times, but really in my own perfect time. Losing my best friend during a childhood squabble paved the way I respond mentally and physically to similar situations as an adult.
I can remember at the time of my mothers death it was as if my world came to a screeching halt. What I realize now, is that life as I knew it then had stopped. I began to slowly begin living and feeling again, though differently. I can't remember exactly the moment, but I do remember having one of complete understanding. I understood that life would continue to happen all around me and through me constantly, at times so much so that I would have to consciously re-learn how to live, even when I didn't want to. I would need to constantly be adapting to whatever a particular experience imprinted on me into my new life.
The experience of having children is a great analogy. If you don't have them, you have no idea what to expect day to day mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. If you have experienced the death of someone very close to you, relating to anothers aftermath is something you are capable of doing. The key is becoming aware that regardless of what life brings your way, it will go on. Differently.
I could relate to almost every raw word in this book I read. I picked it up sensing the title "Life's That Way" held the meaning of "well, that's just the way life is". In fact, it was a direction. LIFE IS THAT WAY ----> In other words, look around after life happens to you, it continues to grow and build, in another way. And when allowed, as I have experienced, it just gets more and more fulfilling with the ways it expands your level of compassion, endurance, happiness, sadness, wealth, contribution, and even kindness you show to your self and others. We choose our action and reaction based on what life has shown us, but hopefully we can remember to apply what life has just added to our suitcase that will never be to full, and continue following the signs that tell us, Life's That Way ----->