Everything will be Okay

I often look back at the time when I was a young kid and I think, “damn, I wish I could have just let go and realized that everything was going to be okay, there wasn’t really anything to worry about.” I had so much fear as a kid. I had major anxiety about things that weren’t even mine to worry about: money, the logistics of a day, other people’s relationships.

Now as an adult, I tend to think that I missed out on that chance I had to be carefree. I didn’t know how good I could have had it. Now that time is gone. Or is it?

I don’t want to make it to my fifties and look back at my thirties and think, “you didn’t have to worry like you did. Everything turned out alright. Even when shit happened, and it wasn’t alright—eventually, you were always okay.”

That’s kind of how I’ve looked back at every other decade of my life. Experience suggests that may not change.

Fear and anxiety can swallow up whole swaths of our life if we let it.

Since lately I’ve been putting such an emphasis on actually living in the day (not just telling myself to be present but actually practicing it), it’s brought up memories of when I first got sober. If there was a time in my life that I was able to live one day—no—one hour, at a time, it was when I first entered recovery.

Things got really bad in the end. I was so ill in my body and my mind, and my soul was completely empty. It felt like my life was on the line. It became clear that if I didn’t have sobriety, I wasn’t going to have anything else. So each day, each hour, was really only about one thing: not drinking. It made life very simple. I’d often try to complicate it with little dramas and anxieties I had about the future that I’d grown accustomed to staying busy with. Was someone at work trying to take my shift? Was I going to be a bartender for the rest of my life? (Yes, I was a bartender my first year of sobriety. Yes.)

Luckily for me at this time I had taken the advice of others around me and enlisted some guidance. I had a sponsor who had been through what I was going through already. She would reign me back in and help me focus on what was important. At the end of the day when I was worried about where I was going to be when I was 30, she would say, “did you stay sober today?” I would answer, “yes.” She would reply, “great, this was a good day. We’ll figure tomorrow out tomorrow.”

It was never more complicated than that.

Life has gotten bigger since then. More responsibilities. More goals. More people loved. More people lost. Sometimes, it all feels like too much. When it does, I recognize the feeling. It’s the same way I felt when I was 10 standing in line at the checkout and worrying if my mom was going to have enough money for the groceries. It’s the same feeling of when I was 6 months sober and crying myself to sleep wondering if I’d ever leave my hometown again.

In retrospect—even when things have not been okay…they’ve turned out okay. I’ve come out on the other side. I’ve laughed and had joy again. I’ve been happy to be alive—to have a life, even with the pain.

So I’m thinking, at least for today, I’m gonna trust that things are gonna be alright. And at the moment when they’re not, I’ll face that. It’s not planning and worrying and anxiety that will prepare me for that moment. It’s my life. It’s 35 years of experience that I’ve now been fortunate enough to collect. That experience has taught me that if my instincts don’t tell me exactly how to deal with a situation, they will at least point me towards the person or people who will know how to help me.

Now at the end of each day I ask myself, “Did you do your best today?” When I can answer “yes”, I give myself a mental thumbs up. When I have to answer “no”, I make a note to try and do better the next day.

Really, it’s never more complicated than that.

 

I was all set to write about running this morning. This came out instead. Guess that living in the moment thing is coming along ;).

 

hey guys, let’s connect on Instagram! Doing lots of fun tidbits there in-between blog posts ❤

header image: jason rosewell

38 thoughts on “Everything will be Okay

  1. Pingback: Running Intuitively – cat h. bradley

  2. Hi Cat! Your post was right on the mark. I’m truly happy you’re on the positive path. You’ve got it right! How do I know? Spoiler alert – I AM 50 and I DO look back at my forties when professional life went off road on a very rough trek for a while and I DO wish I’d worried less because it DID all work to get me to a great place in the end. But now I look back and use the knowledge to face each day’s challenges with the knowledge that I can stress less, breathe into the day and the challenge more, and know that I’ll be okay. I hope you’re finding that kind of centering, too. It’s a powerful thing! Go you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Hunter! I always love your comments so much–insightful and always so crazy useful to me! Ahh!!! Now I’ve got proof! Thank you for the story about those fears in your forties. I was trying to explain to someone the other day that one of the things i am most grateful for about getting older is that I’ve become more open to listening and learning from the experiences of others–they are so valuable. Very glad to be out of the days where I have to learn EVERY lesson myself–that tiring, AND really painful!
      Believing that we are going to be okay, no matter what. And the understanding that really bad stuff can happen, and we can still be ok–eventually. I kind of can’t believe that’s a main tenet of my life now. There was a time when you couldn’t pay me to believe it.
      Thanks so much for this Hunter–so glad to have your voice and influence here for others and myself! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul wrote to the Philippians, ‘be anxious for nothing’. But that is so much easier to say than it is to live daily. You have much to be thankful for, and much to be proud of. Your journey is taking you places others cannot imagine. Congratulations on overcoming things that would have held you back. I truly enjoyed your post. Sometimes what is on your heart is what you need to share. I look forward to reading your post on running.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah–i’d have to say “be anxious for nothing” is a tough one to live daily, especially these days! It’s funny, I don’t know the bible well (I took a class studying it as literature in college and I loved it, it was fascinating), but for some reason I am a little surprised that the word “anxious” is in there. It just feels like such a modern word to me–you hear it every day now cause everyone seems to we walking around with so much anxiety.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Parts of my journey have been tough but I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. I know we all have our challenges, even when they look different–there’s probably so much we can relate to with each other. It would probably help if more of us opened our mouths more–a lot of people might realize they are not alone ;).
      Thanks again for speaking up–so glad to have your voice here!

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    1. You’re welcome Lynne. It’s crazy how much more wonderful life can be when we have that gratitude and we are living in the present and not just poised for something ahead of us. Really great!
      Thanks so much for chiming in and for your kind words! x

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    1. I have to go back and re-read what I wrote. “Doing the next right thing” is one of my life mantras, but i don’t remember writing it in here–but now two or three people have mentioned it. It makes me more excited to think that i didn’t write it but that’s just what you got out of it, lol.
      Letting go lets us live–it’s so opposite of our intuition right? (at least mine, i am such a control freak!). I really believe though (and i’d say i’ve got evidence to back it up) that the best of almost everything in my life has come from letting go of the reigns and letting life happen on life terms. So much of what i have my control freak brain would not have chosen–in fact, it tried to push against my hubs, where I live, what i do for work–all of it. And yet I couldn’t be happier with where I’ve landed and when I follow whatever that guidance or “next right thing” is, I feel in flow–and there’s an ease to life, even when it’s hard.
      So good to hear from you Steph! Hope you are enjoying the summer! x

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  4. Kendra Lee

    All these things have been in my head lately. It was crazy & cool to see it all pop up on someone else’s blog… I feel so seen! ❤ I have to drill back down to the simplicity a lot, too–did I do the next right thing (or at least try)? Was I kind? What was my part in the things that went awry? How can I do better, be better? At the end of the day, it's about letting go of fear & offering myself some grace. Love this post. Thanks so much for sharing it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like that always happens–when something is at the forefront of my mind I just happen to start seeing it or signs of it everywhere! Love that I could contribute to you feeling seen!
      The next right thing has got to be my #1 mantra–it’s in my head all the time and i really use it to get through the day–moment by moment sometimes!
      Also–who knew that recognizing and owning my part in situations that have gone badly could actually be freeing? Crazy how so much of this works.
      Thanks for reading Kendra, so happy to have you here! x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh! So glad Jourdan. You are right– I didn’t even really include that here but contentment and gratitude is such a huge part of being able to be present and live for today. I think the thing that is really waking me up everyday is the realization that the worrying isn’t serving me. It’s not making me more prepared. It’s not making something bad that happens more painful. It only takes from me–it takes my time, my sanity, my peace. Learning to cut out the things that don’t serve me–definitely key!
      So glad this resonated with you, thanks so much for chiming in!!
      Hey, we should connect on IG too! Are you on there? I will try and find you–love sharing thoughts like these and of course lots of running fun ;). x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To in the now and make sure I acknowledge at least one positive thing every day. I’ve been particularly aware of this since leaving work at the end of May. I can relate that staving off worry and anxiety is really challenging, and I think I agree that breaking things down to the most direct path has been most impactful.

    For me, it has been did I send an application in? Did I do some research about a field I’m interested in? Did I run? Did I workout? Did I meditate? All those things count as “one positive thing” for every day. And I really believe it was important, not so much to actually do those things (because I would have either way), but to actually acknowledge them. To say to myself “that is one positive step you’ve taken today”, and have something to build on into the next day. Those steps seem to have come together, as I’ll be starting a new job next week at a run specialist retailer. Looking forward to the chance to work with and assist people who share my passion.

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    1. Hey Paul!
      Yeah I can imagine your decision to leave work brought on loads of anxiety. I would be shocked if it didn’t, I don’t think you would be human, lol.
      Sounds like though this whole process is changing a lot for you. That acknowledging the positive is something you can take everywhere–when you’re looking for work, when you’ve found it, when you’ve lost or left it again. To me the point kind of is that the outside factors actually matter much less than we think they do. If we can build a foundation that allows us to maintain serenity and peace of mind throughout fear and chaos, then really, we can face anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This really resonated with me Cat. I’ve wasted far too many hours worrying about things that may never happen and failing to stay in the present. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully be “at peace” with myself but I do think the last ten years or so have seen a big change in my outlook (since turning 35 – funny that hey…). I’ve still had periods where work stress or life pressures have turned me back towards bad habits but they’ve become more the exception than the rule. Perhaps the biggest lesson for me is watching my kids get bigger, particularly my son who at 8 years old is a carbon copy of how I was as a child. He’s a worrier for sure and it’s such a goal for me to ensure he stays being a kid for as long as he can. I try to make sure he stays in the moment and doesn’t get too worked up about things he can’t control – so much so that after being a nail-biter for close to 40 years I stopped overnight once I recently saw he was copying me when he was jittery over something. Gives me a great reason to be calm and enjoy the day – and makes sure he has the best chance of being a child for as long as he can.

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    1. Your response gave me goosebumps. Just cause I know that a lot of the anxieties i have had to work through are ones that i’ve picked up from both my parents. Me having anxiety about having enough money in the grocery store (even though we always had enough money) comes from my mom. I’m brave now and i drive everywhere but both my parents have crazy fears about driving that also made their way into my psyche. I think some of it passing down is just inevitable. I think what would have helped me is if at some point i saw my parents working through those anxieties and fears like you are now. The fear being there is almost inevitable, but if you can show that there are ways to manage, and that life must still be lived–and that most of the good stuff in life is actually on the OTHER SIDE of that fear and anxiety, then i think you are really giving your kid the best of what any parent could hope to offer.
      Love your perspective Nik! x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lady. Definitely. I went through too much of my life where I looked back and went “whoa, I can’t believe how much time has passed me by.” I knew something needed to change and getting in the day has really been key. Missing our lives–that’s really the worst feeling i can think of. I don’t want to miss any of it–even the hard stuff!

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    1. OMG congrats! That’s so awesome–and I imagine terrifying! I work freelance and something that helped me was a commitment to the lifestyle. Basically i had to tell myself, am I going to do this or not? If every time I have time off work I’m stressed beyond belief and panicked and sure i am never going to find work again–then it’s not worth it. Either I ease into the lifestyle and believe in my abilities and what I am doing–or i go get a full time job where I can feel that security all the time. After a couple of years of never enjoying my time off, I had to give myself an ultimatum–do this thing all the way or don’t do it at all!

      Completely understand your anxiety. All we need to tackle today is today! x

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  7. Lovely. I wish I could go back to child me and tell me it was going to be OK. But it is pretty well so. A friend I haven’t met commented on my blog that I have a wholesome life and I need to hold onto that feeling. Well done to you, always working on yourself, always thoughtful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right Liz! It sounds cheesy but I honestly wish I could go and hold my younger self and just reassure her. She went through a lot of worry that she really didn’t have to. I guess the best I can do is learn from that time and apply what i know to my life now.

      Wholesome. That’s nice. Really nice. Definitely hang on to that! x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Another lovely post, thank you for sharing it (tell us about running now!). I think we all worry a bit too much most of the times and end up feeling like we’ve missed out on the beauties of life as a result. That’s why it’s important to tell each other to not worry and to take each day as it comes – especially when it’s done as eloquently as this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alright Leonard, I’ll get back to running soon, I promise!!
      You’re right though–we all need to remind each other to stay in the day. I feel lucky to have my hubs to pull me back frequently. Sometimes I get riled up about problems that haven’t even happened yet–and maybe never will! Such a waste! Thanks Leonard, I appreciate having you as a reader and really love when you chime in ;).

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  9. Dustin Lovell

    I needed to read this tonight. My partner and I are dealing with the loss of her father, and it’s difficult to see any end to the sorrow. But we’ve been through a lot together and we’ll get through this together as well. Thank you for posting this. I’m glad this came out instead. (Like to hear about the run this morning though.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah man Dustin I am so so sorry. I am glad this might have helped a little. I have actually been through what you are going through. My mother in-law died three years ago. I have to say it was like nothing i had ever experienced. Many times in really tough moments i would look up to the universe and be like “holy shit, I have never done this before. this is hard. i don’t know how to do this! help me!” I always thought I knew how to support my husband but this was knew. I had to learn to let him have his grief–that i couldn’t take it away. And I had to be there when he needed me and give him space when he needed air to just feel every bit of the sorrow. All this while dealing with my own grief. I knew his mom well and was very close to her. Such a strange thing to almost try and muffle or distort your own grief because you feel like it’s less important than your loved one who is dealing with the loss more directly.
      Hard stuff. But you’ll get through it. One day at a time. And things will get better–I promise. Letting yourself feel everything you’re feeling–even when it’s hard. Love to you and your partner Dustin! x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Karolee! Yes, you are spot on–all we’ve got and all we have to manage is THIS day. Shit–sometimes I have to even forget the day and just get through the MOMENT I am in ;). Had to do that in yoga this morning or I don’t think i ever would have gotten through class, LOL. Thanks for dropping by and sharing. Please do come again! x

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