Adulting is hard.

In my three decades (and a half) on this planet, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world. And one thing I know for certain (cheers, Oprah) is that it doesn’t really get easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot in my life that I love and that others kill for. A home, a city with fresh air, public transit that works and is on time most of the time, steady work, the ability to travel, and amazing friends and family around me.

And still I find myself navigating pain (either my own or others’) and balancing the alleviation of that pain with trying to reach that dream life.

It’s that pull between the darkness and light that unites us all in our humanity.

I don’t want to bore you with my list of complaints as they probably pale in comparison to the other tragedies going on in the world, but I guess all I’m trying to say is that while it might not get easier, the lessons become more and more apparent the more I tend to crawl in the mud (as Gary Vaynerchuk calls it). While I don’t like the mud, I guess I am becoming more comfortable with it.

One of the folks I like to follow on Instagram (I follow a few spiritual gurus of my time, including Danielle LaPorte and Gabby Bernstein) is Mastin Kipp. I like his videos because they’re as if he’s talking to me and in a really honest way, and his quotables tend to reflect what’s going on in my life pretty accurately.

If these folks sound a bit woo-woo to you, that’s cool. To be honest I’ve had to unsubscribe from quite a few via e-mail because getting daily e-mails is way too much. No one’s that enlightened! And when I hear a really good piece of advice, I like to reflect and act. ‘Cause you can easily start swimming (nowhere) in the sea of spiritual quotable overload.

Anyway, so back to the quote. I love that it’s about growth and getting stronger, not about praying for things to get better. They are not going to get better, unless each and every single human fights for what they believe is right, and magically everyone starts getting along and helping each other. What is right, is a whole other conversation.

It’s those of us (like you, if you’ve read this far) who are fighting for good in the world. For equality for all people, everywhere, for a liveable planet, for our health, for the things that bring us happiness in a way that doesn’t cause harm to others, but somehow, still causes us battle scars.

All of these life situations are what I call dark teachers.

I can’t see it at the time, but there is something I always learn when I get past the dark part and then have a chance to breathe and realize I’m actually standing in light again. I can look back on it and say, “thank you.”

It takes years sometimes, but I see who I was in the past, even before the darkness, and I can say, holy f*ck, I’ve grown. I’m so much smarter. Wiser. More resilient. More ready. And I can spot it coming more and more. I may not be able to avoid it, but at least I can get my armour on.

Without dark times, you can’t enjoy the light.

What’s the light? For me, it’s fulfilling work (related to the good list above), the ability to live in the city I grew up in (Vancouver is the 39th most expensive city in the world to live in and third most expensive city for home ownership), time to love my partner and who I care about most, indulging in ice cream now and then, and being able to travel the world.

I want to hear what your dreams are. What keeps you going. What defines your light. What you fight for.

Share them with me?

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