People often find their passion in life by giving to the world what they didn’t get themselves when they needed it most. I became an educator – to offer guidance, support, compassion, and understanding to adolescents who were often struggling to make sense of this crazy-ass life.
That’s what I needed when I was younger.
That’s what I still need.
I remember one particular teacher training when they asked us to list all the stressful things in our lives. I damn near filled a whole page. Then they asked us to list all the stressors in our students’ lives.
That list was a lot longer.
Plus, they were doing a lot heavier existential shit – discovering who they are, where they fit in, what they’re willing to do to fit in, their sexual orientation, self-worth… oh yeah, and fucking trigonometry.
I thought teacher life was hardcore, but reflecting on both lists, I remember thinking – This whole business of being human is pretty rugged from end to end.
Now, as a relationship coach, my clients are all adults. However, I’m actually still working with their wounded, adolescent parts. They are men and women with careers, mortgages, or even children of their own – certified grownups – who still carry the fears and unmet needs of a child.
It would be nice if this life came with a being human user’s manual, a warranty, or 24/7 tech-support.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if the mere passing of time could ensure emotional maturity, healing, and wisdom?
I don’t know who said “Time heals all wounds,” but they were clearly smoking crack when they said it.
Time heals some wounds – like scraped elbows and mosquito bites. Other wounds weave themselves into your very identity and ride to the cemetery with you.
Some will even drive you there.
Maybe there are people who grew up with the knowledge and natural inclination to meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs, connect with others, share their authentic selves, and ask for help when they need it.
I ain’t one of em.
It’s taken years of concentrated effort to become a functional adult. Still working on it most days (see Shame, Hard Work, and Healing).
Buddy Wakefield once said, “If I didn’t have so much of this life all wrong, I would’ve gotten it right by now.”
Life is hard. Certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted.
I truly believe, now more than ever, that we need each other. We need a tribe, to lean on one another for support and guidance, to connect with our fellow travelers on this long, arduous adventure.
I also believe we ought to be discerning with what tribes we belong to. Many of them are just bands of misfits, justifying each other’s shitty behavior through ignorance in numbers. Echo chambers that amplify their pain and misunderstanding.
And there is no shortage of pain and misunderstanding.
Belonging feels good. Belonging to a healing community feels better.
Make sure you’re connected with good people who are learning how to be better humans.
This shit is harder than it looks.