My best friend asked me that, yesterday. She's having a hard time. A very hard time.
Is this all there is to being an adult? Piles and piles of crap that you just have to survive? Never ending piles of crap?
I wanted to tell her, "No! It gets better!"
I really did. But...
But this is it. This is being an adult.
Growing up. Gaining responsibility. Becoming an adult. Perhaps getting married. Having children. Adopting pets. Each new life adds to your personal burden of responsibility.
Someone has to feed/change/walk those babies/children/animals.
There are always bills to pay. Promises to keep. Miles to go.
Strung throughout your days there are horrible accidents. Pain. Suffering. Illness. Death. Sometimes it may directly affect you, sometimes indirectly. With every person you make contact with, your potential pool of pain grows. All of those friends, all of those family members.
It struck me, recently, that one day I'll be an orphan. That regardless of the relationship we have with our parents for good or ill, one day they're going to die and leave us all alone here. Whether we've resolved our issues with them or not, they'll be gone. That thought breaks my heart.
And yet --
That's how it goes. We're born, we live, we die. Hopefully along the way we find some happiness and some peace. Although, not necessarily at the same time.
In that giant steaming pile of crap that your life may appear to be at times, there are glimmers of hope. Patches of joy. The beautiful girl that smiled at you; the gorgeous boy you got to kiss, even if just once. The baby that loves you. The spouse that adores you. The friends that thrill to see you. The pets that worship the ground you walk on.
All of them have their problems. The dying pets, the chronic illnesses, the fights with their mother-in-laws, lost friends, suicidal thoughts, dark days, and lonely nights. Drunken phone calls. Broken hearts.
Without them, even without the problems they share with you (sometimes even when you don't want them to), life is...bland.
Now there are plenty of days I'd like a little more bland in my diet, but that's not always up to me. Each day we have to struggle through. Some days are easy and happy and filled with laughter and other days are dark and ugly and make us wonder why we became parents/took that job/went back to school/adopted a pet/moved out of state in the first damned place. There have been plenty of days that I've wondered whether I'm cut out for this life. Whether I'm going to survive. Other days I know that I'm right where I'm meant to be.
However, it's hard to keep that perspective in mind when life has kicked you to the curb again and is rubbing your face in the gravel and detritus that has collected there.
This is it, though.
This is life.
Every car crash, every late bill, every baby kiss, broken heart, spring day, tornado, new kitten. Every marriage, every divorce, every new love, every funeral. Every single solitary day you wake up and make it through the day, you grow up a little more.
Hopefully you have way more good days than bad, but there's no guarantee.
Hopefully you have more friends than enemies. More love than hate. More company than loneliness.
And when life really and truly is sucking the joy out of you, when you feel completely cut off from all of those people that used to be your friends and you're convinced that no one understands you, reach out anyway. Try again. Sometimes you find that if you reach out, someone will reach back and help light up your darkness a little.
Sometimes a little light is all it takes.
This is it.
You don't always have to love it. It's going to be hard.
Just don't forget that it's also often beautiful.
And that you are loved.