Human nature dictates that as humans….we like to see progress. Incremental progress toward our goals. Moving forward, moving forward – we want to move forward as fast as possible!! We want to get THERE! Where-ever THERE is. The relentless pursuit of forward momentum!!
Ok, myself…..I always liked when I was given the “Take Two GIANT steps forward” instruction in the Mother May I? game we played as kids. Those baby steps and umbrella steps never did it for me. Hmmm, I guess I was impatient even as a kid! Although I could spin a mean-Cinderella step, and gain ALOT of ground with it! I guess I was destined to be a princess after all! My sister Debbie and I would play Mother May I?, Red Light/Green Light, hopscotch, Double Dutch — anything we could think of — on warm summer days, in our backyard, with our childhood friends Linda Faulkenberg and Felicia James. (It’s crazy how the names of friends from 40 years ago are right there, right there, stored in my brain). Back to Mother May I?…. LOL, I loved that game. That is — until the game-master dished out those darn backward steps. D@mn — I despised those backward steps!! How are you ever supposed to get to the Finish Line going backwards???
Ahhhh…..well….sometimes the ONLY way to get to the finish line is to do a little time going backwards. Say WHAT?
Well — I learned over time — that L.I.F.E. can sometimes be a giant game of Mother May I?! You move forward at varying speeds……hopping like a frog, spinning like Cinderella, running at your top speed, crawling like a crab. Sometimes you stay frozen and skip a turn to move (crap). Well, treading water isn’t THAT bad. But it sure felt like FOREVER when I was 8. And other times ….. you move backward a little bit, or ALOT if you pulled the dreaded “Return to the Starting Line” call. O.M.G! Hearts were breaking for you. That was the WORST! You got the Charlie Brown-est call in the game. Man. Life. Is. Not. Fair!
It didn’t register back then — but we were learning some very important skills in that backyard. Yes, yes….taking turns, and good sportsmanship. And we were learning how to l.e.a.r.n. something from each move. Learning how to grow from moving backwards…whew….now that’s a skill. As soon as it happened —“take 2 umbrella steps backwards!” The top would blow off the box! Emotions are flaying and your thoughts are swirling around in tornadic fashion. It’s difficult to learn in the middle of an emotional tornado. Waiting until the “I’m Pissed” phase wears off is Step 1. Once you settle into your new backslide position (after completing the smallest umbrella steps known to man!)…….thinking and living and growing can resume.
As an adult — the Mother May I? game continues. In many fashions. In Weight Loss. At work. In Parenthood. In Marriage. Steps forward, steps backwards, hell — I’ll take one of those stand still steps please — because time is FLYING!, in my opinion. I could use a frozen moment in time right about now.
But most profoundly, I’ve come to terms with those backward steps. I’ve made my peace with them, and maybe…m.a.y.b.e., even have grown to understand them, and welcome them when they come. I realize now that going back — re-walking the same path you’ve travelled before — usually means that you’ve left some piece of important learning on the road back there. Making it worthwhile, going back and walking in your footsteps again. Sometimes the learning was missed because you raced too fast over that ground, and didn’t learn anything at all the first time around. Other times…you picked up the WRONG lesson the first time, and what you learned won’t serve you long enough to get you through the next few umbrella turns! And even still other times….you need to learn the lesson MORE THAN ONCE — because it’s a tough one, and you are going to have to work REALLY REALLY hard to make this learning stick. Resilience is a tough lesson…and you ONLY learn it through practice. Nobody, NO-Body can learn resilience without struggle. Struggle creates Resilience. And Resilience may be the single, most important skill — to take you to the Finish Line of Anything!
So consider this — every time Life dishes you out a Big ole Backward Step — maybe…..just maybe….moving Backwards….is the New Moving-Forward!
Mother May I? Yes, you most certainly may!!
Ciao for now…..Diane