There are only a few periods in my life that I look at and feel grateful to have behind me. Those chunks of time were unpleasant but necessary and while I came out of them better and stronger, I mostly feel glad they’re over.
I’m guessing most of us have those times. One of them was the three years of middle school, and I’m guessing I’m not alone there. I was a new kid at school, awkward and tribe-less. I never got anywhere close to comfortable in those years.
The other was the 2 years or so that took me from faithful Mormon to dedicated Agnostic. Those were some hard years. It was a long struggle, mostly internal, that I couldn’t share with anyone. There was a lot of denial, the occasional self-destructive streak, and plenty of times when I just shut my brain off so I didn’t have to think about anything anymore.
I realized the other day as I continued my ongoing consideration of how I’m doing without meds I was thinking how I’d look back and see it as Those Five Years When I Was On Antidepressants.
But then the picture got a little bigger.
Those Five Years When I Was In And Then Suddenly Out of a Tough Marriage.
Those Five Years When I Struggled Through Babyhood.
Those Five Years When My Career Went Off the Rails
Those Five Years When I Trudged Through Autism.
It’s been a hell of a five years.
And then I had another crazy thought: Those Five Years are just about over.
In a little over 4 months Tessa will start school. No more babies in my house. No more therapy sessions in my living room, so many countless hours of sessions over these last few years that I can hardly imagine life without it. She’s talking and starting to seem like a 2-year-old. I’m officially divorced. I’m in a full-time job.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t exactly all roses over here. Life is tough. It’s tough every day. I’m still feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
All these things that have been so hard, these things that haven’t just been so hard but that have been so hard AT THE SAME TIME are just about done. My current challenges aren’t the same ones that have plagued me for these last several years. They’re new and frustrating and awful but they’re new.
And soon I will look back on this period of my life the way I look back now at my difficult faith transition. Those years that are a huge part of my story, a big chunk of who I am, but that are past.
I can’t tell you the huge figurative sigh of relief that comes with that one word.
I’m still not quite sure if I’m out of the tunnel or just able to see the light at the end of it. There were plenty of times when it seemed like that light would never come. There were plenty of times when the possibility that the light would never come was very real and very plausible. But it’s coming. It might even be here already. It’ll be a while before the lines start to become clear.
This will be a chunk of time. A difficult, harrowing, crazy, formative chunk of time. And it’ll be over.
And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.