It's About Time  

Posted by Heidi in

When I was young, life was a ribbon, a shiny, satin ribbon. As I ran toward the rest of my life, that ribbon kept me from it. I ran and ran but the faster I ran towards all that I always wanted, whether it was a boyfriend, an education, a job, a husband, a home of my own and children to fill it, that ribbon simply bunched up ahead of me, the way shiny satin ribbons are wont to do. “Life” never seemed to happen.

Eventually these landmark achievements were captured, one by one. Yet life became even more of a race, one with no beginning or end. It seemed my days and nights were spent in a wheel, turning, turning, turning, while nothing at all ever truly got done. I would wash the dishes yet they were dirty again in an instant. I would make the beds but they never could manage to stay that way for even a day. Food was purchased, cooked and eaten in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Clothes, well, I’d rather not talk about the clothes.

Then came the dark years. In spite of all the running and racing, or perhaps because of them, everything was suddenly so hard. Life had become an obstacle course complete with dangerous challenges that often left me winded, injured, hurt---bleeding. There were days when I felt like an accident on the side of the road, everyone slowing down to see the spectacle of my life yet eventually driving on, leaving me to gradually bleed to death.

And I survived.

So, it was back to the obstacle course, then back to the ever-spinning wheel. However, something was different this time around. I was faster. I was stronger. I didn’t get winded so easily and I was leaping over obstacles with a single bound. One day I noticed that I was back on the ribbon but it was no longer bunching up in front of me, keeping my goals at bay.

Life had become a marathon and I was keeping pace.

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 18, 2009 at Sunday, January 18, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

35 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I love this metaphor, Heidi. I feel the same way sometimes.

January 18, 2009 at 1:18 PM

I feel like I am in the darker part. Maybe it just takes your children growing up a little. And not to be potty training.

Wonderful piece.

January 18, 2009 at 1:21 PM

It's soooo nice when that dark part is over! Is that what a midlife crisis is? I wrote about that today too! WEIRD!!!

I'm glad you are feeling stronger. I am just rebuilding my strength.

January 18, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Just the other day it hit me that I have like 40 or 50 years left of my life, and that seems like sooooo long, because I have already passed all of those "landmark achievements" that you listed. I guess I have to look forward to my kids' achievements like graduation and marriage, but I don't have such concrete things for myself.

January 18, 2009 at 1:49 PM

I always love reading your blog. Most of the time it makes me laugh--but this one touched my heart in a different way. I am sorry for any dark days you have suffered through, but glad you are feeling stronger because of them.

January 18, 2009 at 2:17 PM

"challenges that often left me winded, injured, hurt---bleeding. There were days when I felt like an accident on the side of the road--"

This is a snapshot from my soul. You have captured it in all its haunting beauty. It is a comfort to know one is not alone. I hope you never have to feel this way again.

Thank you for sharing. It is more courageous than you know. Thank you.

January 18, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Some genius actually wrote a book about this exact metaphor - the "life is a marathon" concept. I wish I could remember the book, but my friend read it and decided to apply it to the Young Women in our ward last year. We actually "trained" our girls to "Run a Marathon" (a.k.a. "Life"). IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING WE'VE EVER DONE WITH OUR YW! I could leave a super long comment and tell you all about it, but instead I'll blog about it and fill in the details. It really was an awesome experience, and one I think I should do every year.

January 18, 2009 at 3:33 PM

You know, maybe I'm just weird this way, but I take things as they come (as in, I don't race toward anything). I do my own thing and I have goals, but life is life and I just have to take it one step at a time! :) I love what you wrote though, I always feel like reading about other people's trials and life help prepare me for anything I might come up against. And it helps. Thank you!

January 18, 2009 at 3:45 PM

You are inspiring, and I am not saying that as a joke.

WV- anapy- maybe that is what you need after each leg of your race.

January 18, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Wow this is fabulous!!

January 18, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Yes. What Lara said.
This gives me hope :) Another great post, lady!

January 18, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Lovely. And so true.

Keep running, girlfriend~

January 18, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Lovely metaphor. Isn't amazing how we work so hard for those things, and then we get there and feel like 'an accident by the side of the road'?
Glad you've found your stride. You give hope for the rest of us!

January 18, 2009 at 6:32 PM

Kristina--thanks! Lara--I hope you never get to as dark a place as I did (when one of your kids is both sucidical and homicidal and you have to hide all the knives and scissors AND your husband is sick in bed for a year and there is no money and no one to help b/c mental illness is just not p.c.----get back to me. Not to minimize your darkness. Things tend to look pretty darn black but only until they get blacker). (Now I am worried that I offended you. Sorry!) April--I sense that in you! Keep going! Heather--I have always been woefully ambitious. Joy--thanks! If I write a post on Sunday, it will never be the kind you laugh at. It gives me a bit of a change in pace that I need. (no pun intended) Lexicon, T, elliot--I'm not sure what to call you but I love that you love that part. I hope you don't have to go through what I did BUT it did make me stronger. Sue--I have never read that book. I guess it must be true, huh? Melinda--good for you. Pacing yourself is always best. What can I say? I was young? And I was given challenges that would have made anyone stop and gasp for breath (not that I am complaining--I love my challenges=--they have given me so much!) Youngblood--I just had one! Yay! It felt so good! Heather--thanks! Heather--I sure hope it doesn't get any darker. You have had enough, lady! Crash--thanks! It's great to always stop by your place with your drink of water and bucket for whatever needs carrying along the way. :)

January 18, 2009 at 6:36 PM

You wrote beautifully of what makes up a woman's life. I have felt everything you have mentioned. The darkness still comes from time to time. It is that commonality that brings us all together and rooting for one another.

I wonder if your book is when your ribbon started again? It must be such a wonderful rediscovery of you after years of concentrating only on raising kids. I hope I have that day too.

January 18, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Hi Pat--thanks for visiting and for commenting! I hope that I can give people hope. I have really been through a lot. I don't press that point b/c I want any praise but b/c I truly DO want people to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even when you can't see it. Especially when you can't see it. It's a lot of hard work, very very hard, and we're not done here with the work we have to do by a long shot---but with the right friends, it can be done. (except for the laundry and making dinner. For those things, there is no hope)

January 18, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Alyson--I think you are pretty close. It would be hard to pin it down to one moment, it has been gradual, but I only just felt this way very recently. It feels great! (I hope it lasts!)

January 18, 2009 at 6:41 PM

I haven't been through exactly what you have, but have been through some pretty dark days with my own struggles (and not just raising little ones) and it gives me hope to read this.

Just thought I'd let you know that. :)

January 18, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Love this post. Came across you through another blog. Glad I did!

January 18, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Heidi,
I'm terribly sorry about what you've gone through. And you're right about how the world views mental illness. It's not right but there are people out there who DO care. I may not have been where you've been but my heart reaches out to you and your family. I'm glad that things are on the upside. Your strength may be the balm to someone else's soul.

L.T.
p.s. Sorry about the confusing name. You can call me Laura if you like. =]

January 18, 2009 at 7:18 PM

Nice post Heidi!

Swifter, higher, stronger


Now you just have to endure to the end...

January 18, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Lovely Heidi. I'm so glad you've become lithe and strong. It makes you a mighty fine friend.

WV = perth As in dragon riders of.

January 18, 2009 at 8:53 PM

It is amazing the things we can handle when we have to. If someone had told me some of the things I would face in my life I would say,"No. I can't do that."

The ribbon metaphor was good too. Slippery, fluid, ever-changing. But we learn how to navigate it and even how to make predictions about how it will go.

Nice post, Miss A.

January 18, 2009 at 9:07 PM

The darkness only makes the light brighter. The strength comes from working to make it to the light. Nothing new, but it helps put all things in perspective. Ether 12:27 So glad we don't have to do this alone.
Roxanne

January 18, 2009 at 9:10 PM

I read your post earlier today and did not have time to comment. What I wanted to say was that you made it sound so ... nice(?) I wanted details and didn't want to admit it.

January 18, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Alyson--thank you! That means a lot! Homestead--glad you found me, thanks for the comment and hope you come back! Laura--yay! I love having a name to call you! Thanks for your kindness. It has really been tough but I'm not sorry. My challenges are my friends--what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, yada yada yada. Having others care really does help, though! Thanks! Rachel--that's what I'm hoping! One never knows for sure but I truly do hope I have had my major trial of my faith. Jami--so sweet! And I love the Dragonriders of Perth! Kazzy--the ribbon metaphor was literally the way I saw things in my mind when I thought about how life seemed to always be eluding me. It was youthful silliness, of course, I was in such a hurry to grow up (having five older sisters will do that to you) but honestly, that is just the picture that would always come into my brain. The idea that I can have some kind of control over that ribbon and not be a victim of circumstance, as you said, is pretty intoxicating. Roxanne, absolutely, we don't have to do it alone. Choose your friends wisely--the Savior being at the top of the list. I have learned so much about how to access the atonement in my life through all of this---it's why we're here.

January 18, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Christine--email me and ask your questions. I love to talk about it.

January 18, 2009 at 9:36 PM

I'm glad that you are in such a good place right now. I'll never understand REALLY the need to have so much challenge sometimes in our life. It's good to know that it never lasts forever. And good for you for making it through it!

January 18, 2009 at 10:35 PM

I'm so glad your ribbon is pretty and smooth for you right now! You have a busy life, and I'm sure you don't even blog about everything that's happening. I'm not sure how I would cope if I'd been dealt a different hand.

My ribbon has a few kinks in it, but I'm optimistic.

January 19, 2009 at 4:55 AM

Wow.

Have you submitted that to the AnneX?

That was amazing.

January 19, 2009 at 5:39 AM

Heatherlyn--yep, it is good to know, but I don't kid myself. There is more. The challenges in life never really stop. Sometimes you are at the bottom of the wheel, sometimes at the top--I just hope what I have learned will help me to make it over rough ground much more lightly when the time comes. Lisa--optimism is one of life's best friends! You'll do good with that one by your side! Eowyn--thanks! Maybe. Probably. We'll see. :)

January 19, 2009 at 7:54 AM

What an insipirational post! This is one I'll go back to often.

January 19, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Beautiful post! My life seems the same in its own unique way.

January 20, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Love the imagery of the ribbon. Beautiful.

January 20, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Well said, well said. Reminds me of Ether 12:27.
xoxox

January 20, 2009 at 10:29 PM

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