life doesn't get easier...

I started in service for this upcoming school year today. Nothing like reflecting on the past 365 days to get the wheels turning.

Specifically, I’m thinking about how life doesn’t get easier. This past year was one of the more challenging years I’ve yet to experience. Hell, when I reflect on the past year and a half, I am amazed at how many “difficult” situations I faced: divorce and 15 days in jail (prior to this stint in jail, I never had so much as a speeding ticket). I took a new job teaching at a private boarding school (which means I live on campus… which means there’s very little separation between my home and work life) that is demanding in a way that’s hard to articulate (it’s really an amalgamation of teaching, therapy, parenting, etc.).

Tonight, I was thinking about how life doesn’t get easier. I feel endlessly grateful that I came to this understanding at a relatively young age. I remember when I took my first job teaching right out of college. My coworkers were mostly ten to fifteen years older than me. I was struggling with not being in college and they were struggling with babies and mortgages. It dawned on me then, that there is no age at which we “figure it out.” I grew up relatively sheltered, with WONDERFUL parents who never really sat me down and explained that. However, when my coworkers became my closest friends, I had the privilege of accessing a universal truth - no one ever has their shit figured out. It reassured me, somehow. Prior to that, I honestly thought that one day we would turn a corner and we would have our answers (ha).

About an hour ago, I was asking myself why this year hasn’t felt all that difficult. It’s been exhausting, challenging, and has broken parts of me open… but it hasn’t felt impossible. The lessons I’ve learned have reminded me that we never hit a plateau in which we have it all figured out (or even figured out). I have learned more the past four years than I could’ve ever imagined, and yet every time I learn something new I’m reminded at how little we ever really know.

So here’s my belief at this time: life doesn’t get easier, but it gets better.

Because when we genuinely try and learn from the obstacles life slaps us with, we gain access to a deeper understanding of who we are. And when we begin to know ourselves, we have the opportunity to shed layers that were never really “us” to begin with. When we shed these layers, we get to pick situations, friends, LIVES that are REALLY “us.”. We are able to surround ourselves with people that our genuine selves feel connection with… and this is where the magic happens.

We are neurobiologically-wired for connection, as Brene Brown states. Connection and love are what makes my world go round. And regardless of what hand life is dealing me, I have the best people in my life. I can honestly say that I don’t know how I would have survived the past year and a half without the stunning support I’ve been offered by my closest friends. These aren’t friends I woke up and had out of the blue one day; these are people I’ve drawn in my life. I have attracted these beautiful souls because of the understanding I have of who I am - strengths, weaknesses, and all.

When we do the work, we begin to understand who we are outside of societal conditioning. We can access the person we are meant to be - not who our parents thought we should be. We begin to cultivate self-love on a deep level, a level that unlocks the key to finding the people who will make the tough days easier, and the BEST days all that much better.

So here’s to the people in my life that make my world go round. Thank you for reminding me that it’s worth it to do the work if it means I get to have you in my life. Thank you for showing up and reminding me that life doesn’t get easier… but it sure gets better.

Hannah Smith