Let me ask you a fairly simple question: when was the last time you said “I feel like I’m moving backwards!”? I know, there are ways of saying the same thing: “One step forward, two steps back”, “Move any slower I’d be going backwards”.. all those are apt variations. They all refer to the lack of forward motion.The world is collapsing around you. Your life is in a tizzy. Your head is swimming, your mind, aching. All these things are statements that you’ve made at one time or another. Admit it.
I’m here to stop you.
Maybe it was clear in my posts over these last few months; maybe it wasn’t. I had a hard summer. It wasn’t just that I had to send my kids four states away. It’s not that I’d used all my vacation and couldn’t visit with them all summer except for on my iPhone’s FaceTime app. It’s not that I didn’t have my wife here to spend those days with. It was truly all those things. I had someone tell me I needed to snap out of it (which was true). I had my kids having a blast and I was working . . . a lot. I faced my daughter’s first college visit and had to face it knowing her mom isn’t there to cry about her baby being all grown up. Say what you will, guys, but we all love it when our wives do that; it draws attention away from us doing it.
But in the middle of all that I came to a realization that I hadn’t stopped moving forward. None of us had. I traveled. I met as many amazing people as I could.
On top of all that, I re-connected with a friend. She decided to leave her job to do something she not only enjoyed but was good at…forward motion.
On more than one occasion she asked me to visit at a moment’s notice: once on my birthday, once this week. Just to visit, meet a musician we both love,both opportunities afforded to me with no strings. While I didn’t have an opportunity to make those visits happen, something I would never have done a year or two ago happened: I tried to make them happen. You might call this a failure since I didn’t visit. I didn’t meet this band. I didn’t get to sit up all night talking with a friend.
You’d be wrong.
I didn’t say “no.” That’s forward motion. I was working my ass off to find a way to make it happen and when it didn’t, I didn’t sit up for days wondering if I should have. A couple years ago I would have thought that my life was anchoring me on the spot. I have four kids, sure, but they aren’t holding me back, they should see that they’re propelling me forward. Losing my wife and cutting our story short may have slowed me, but it didn’t stop me. My kids needed to see I was willing to take risks and understand that life is meant to be interesting, not stationary. It helped my daughter decide what to do in college. It helped me to decide that I needed to look at where I was going and not where I’d been.
The way I started looking it was as if I was an astronaut.
Go with me here: if I were to go into space, weightless with nothing acting on me whatsoever; if I were to be able to stand, stationary, with no motion whatsoever, not even motion like the gravity of things around me, that’s when it all goes haywire. The earth itself spins on its axis at over 1,000 miles per hour, give or take, according to NASA. Go back farther, and the earth is going around the sun in an orbit of more than 60,000 miles an hour. Our sun is moving outward with the expansion of the universe. Stand still, outside all that influence, and the universe flies, spins out of control. A blurred haze goes around your head and you are lost to the world as it accelerates away from you in an instant.
Even asleep in your bed, the world spins. We rotate around the sun. The sun moves us outward. The black hole at the center of our galaxy swirls us around in an arm of the Milky Way. If you look up you can feel it. With so much influence and movement around us, why would you sit still? Why would you think you are?
Are you sitting still or are you moving? Do you look at opportunities with excuses instead of excitement? Do you see attempts that are less than fruitful, failures or forward motion?
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Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins, is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.