The biggest thing I learned last year

Last year was a whopper. I get tired thinking about it.

Last year’s winter was so awful it was laughable. The company I work for went through what I now call “the dark days.” I officially began what is going to be the most important relationship of my life. My family went through a period of medical scares. I learned how to run. My community in Iowa began to grow, slowly but surely. I crocheted a lot. I got engaged. Lots of babies were born (not mine). And I spent my first holiday season with two different families – my own, and the one I will be married into.

The biggest thing I learned last year was the meaning of the word hard. Or to be more exact, I learned that hard doesn’t always mean “complicated” or “technically difficult.” It just means hard.

Here are some things that are complicated or technically difficult: learning a new crochet stitch; playing Bb major on guitar; trying a new hairstyle you found on Pinterest; singing a song to a patient that you’re unfamiliar with while observing their reaction along with those of other people in the room, while simultaneously coming up with what you’re going to say next and what direction you’re going to take the session.

Here are some things that are just hard. Getting off your butt to go run. Motivating yourself to make dinner when you live alone. Leaving your lovable, engaging family 2 hours away to return to an empty apartment. People not giving you a chance because of their misconceptions about music therapy. EVERYTHING about being in a long distance relationship (or more specifically: having only talking, and having to talk at the end of the day when we’re both tired, not being able to hug each other, missing out on shared experiences, saying goodbye at the end of a trip together.)

I learned this truth one day when I was thinking about how everyone says marriage is hard. After talking to a lot of people about marriage and listening to all they had to say, I realized this: marriage isn’t complicated or technically difficult. Well, it can be complicated, and I suppose things like coordinating schedules would make it technically difficult. But “marriage is hard” refers to the day-in and day-out. The mindless tasks, monotonous decisions of everyday life. I’ve read about decision fatigue – about how each little daily thing all of a sudden becomes a decision because you’re trying to figure out how to live with another person.

Simple things can be hard. That’s what I learned. So the question is, am I willing to do the hard work? What does that lead to? Easier? No.

Better.

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