|Wait for it . . . wait for it . . .|
For the majority of my life, I always tried to get the upper hand on any pain that I thought might be headed my way. "What if this happens, or what if that happens?" I would try to plan out every possible scenario that I feared might happen, and I would spend hours upon hours coming up with elaborate plans that I could set in motion if this or that happened. No unexpected painful event was going to get the best of me! I was ready and waiting. That other shoe was certain to drop and it was not going to catch me off guard. Or so I thought. The problem was that a lot of those prepared for scenarios never occurred. Or if they did, they didn't happen the way I thought they would, or with the level of severity I expected. Or even worse, sometimes something truly horrific would happen, and I would be completely blindsided by it because it was never even on my radar. I could just never properly prepare myself for pain, no matter how hard I tried.
Of course the irony of all this preparation was that it extended my pain (or created it out of thin air). All that time I wasted in preparation was agony. Because, you see, while I was trying to head off the pain, I was actually giving myself the pain. I find that it is hard to think about and plan for painful events without actually feeling the pain of those events, even if they are only in my mind. I am learning that life is a LOT less painful when I let it follow its natural course. Of course, that means I willingly accept and acknowledge the uncertainty of life when I do that. Will I be unexpectedly smacked by pain? Absolutely 100% guaranteed. However, the interesting thing is that because I don't live in my own personally created "Pain Land" all day, every day, anymore, I am now much more readily equipped to deal with life's surprise twists and turns. This is in large part due to the fact that I am no longer always emotionally wrung out from the constantly imagined terrible things that previously dogged my every waking moment. I sure wish I had figured this out a long time ago. I guess you are never too old to learn something new.