“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Today should not have required so much effort to stay positive about the changes in life. The interesting thing is how something that you really wanted presents limitations that you didn’t include in the vision of having your desired outcome. Change feels harder than you think even when you precipitate the change yourself.

I was cranky and agitated most of the day, experiencing the build up of not exercising for days and generally neglecting my own needs. I have seen this pattern before; where you are going along fine, putting one foot in front of the other, doing the next thing, not allowing the thought of wanting something to be different any room to breathe. Then, there is inevitably the moment when all the benign self neglect takes its toll. I am discontent and passive aggressive in every direction I look.

Everyone can see from a mile away when I have fallen off the positivity quest. They remind me each in their own way to wake up and recognize the goodness of life and mine in particular. They offer space and advice to settle and re-think. My kids see the struggle and offer hugs and stories and complements that required a bit of translation. For example, my 12- year-old daughter Emma told her camp friends that “she has her shine on.” This was a reflection of my masterful brown bag lunches.

Feeding my children is the holdover behavior left from raising them, and I have long been invested in their nutritional levels. I still feed them all and, not infrequently, their friends.

“But actually,” Emma says, “even without the lunches I think you are really cool.” Sitting out by the fire pit again, this time with my older son and his old friend, I reflected on how much I treasure all the boys that I hang around with, vicariously. I watch them hang out anyway and get to listen in on how they kid with each other. I hear them laughing and saying: “dude”- Dude” “DUDE” to each other.

Even when I can’t see the gifts of my own life, I am surrounded by people who see me in them. They are not afraid to tell me where I am misled. I contemplate trying less and not taking it all so seriously. I wonder if feeling like you get to do what you want is actually doing what you want. Freedom has a lot of faces.