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  • Writer's picturepamradtkerussell

Finding the Light When Everything Seems Hard

I had a very “Woe is me” week. Or maybe a couple of weeks, or maybe a month or six.

But this week has been super ridiculously hard. (Keep reading, though, it gets better!!)

My house went up for sale, and we had offers, sight unseen, within hours. We settled on “the highest and best” and now we hunker down for the inspections and appraisal. Now I have to part ways with what was essentially my dream home. I am honestly ready to move on, so I’m somewhat OK with this (especially considering the multiple above-list offers).

But I’ve had moments of close to panic about culling through and packing 28 years of detritus that we’ve hauled with us for through eight moves. There’s the full set of china that a family friend gifted us for our wedding — carried from Japan after the Korean War. The Christmas dishes that “we absolutely had to register for” for my formal “bridal tea” in Alabama, and copious quantities of little dishes and mementos handed down or collected along the way.

And that’s just in one set of cabinets.

I have to find a new place to live with all of the caveats — large enough, safe enough, affordable enough, close enough.

Then, I’m in the second week at a new job in which non math-y and once-introverted me has been put in charge of finance and fundraising. I am up for the work, but it’s been so long that I’ve been challenged it’s going to take a minute for my brain to catch up.

The worst part of the job is all of the on-camera meetings with my colleagues who are about 20 years younger than me. “Shit,” I keep thinking “Do I really look that old?” Cosmetic surgery, or at least botox, has come to mind more than once. I am constantly rearranging the camera— up, down, side, front, more light, less light — and using more makeup than I have in years.

Add in the fact a dear friend, one of the few who truly sees me, has suddenly and abruptly pulled way because of their own shit.

Oh, and the kicker. After 15 months of not having a period — I was technically in menopause — my period came roaring back last week, and has yet to go away, adding a layer of hormone-induced emotions I had forgotten about.

That’s not all of it, but you get the picture.

I told a friend that I felt like Indiana Jones where he’s escaping out of a tunnel and boulders are falling toward him, and he’s just ducking and dodging as he heads for the light at the end.

And that, my friends, is where the story gets good.

Because I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I am not staying in this place for long. I know when I’m out of this tunnel, things are going to be brighter and clearer and good. I just have to keep my head down and keep ducking until I can find my way out.

I also realized all of this shit essentially, is, for lack of a better phrase, “burning away” the things and people that don’t serve me and that don’t make me a better person.

I don’t need Christmas china and granite countertops to be a good person.

I don’t need a remodeled 3 bedroom Mediterranean to be comfortable.

I don’t need to work at a job that is easy because it doesn’t help me grow.

Seeing my younger colleagues every day helps keep me keep focused on what’s really important: helping to change the world for younger generations — including my own children.

Letting go of people helps me better understand who I am in the world without the entanglement of relationships.

Having my period? Well that just sucks.

I hope this week, with whatever boulders you are dodging, you can look up and head toward the light. And if you need help seeing it, ask me, or your friend or your partner or your children, to help you find it. Because it is there. I promise.

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