After 36 years of being in this world, I have come to the conclusion that I believe the meaning of life (spoiler alert) is relationships. For real. As humans, we have the ability to talk to other humans, decide if we like them or not, if we believe in their mission in life, and if we are going to spend our precious time in their presence or not. Either virtually or physically.
We do not simply act in response to nature, we have a prefrontal cortex and we have thoughts and emotions and feelings and we can decide how we are going to act. Most of the time. Unless we have kids, then sometimes we act as if we don’t have a prefrontal cortex either and we just do without thinking. But this is not my point. My point is that when you find your people, and you make a connection with someone who just gets you, it’s like a breath of fresh air. So never let that go.
Hi. I’m Kathryn. I’m stubborn. I’m kind. I’m a dreamer. I’m empathetic. I’m a HSP, thank you Elaine Aron for letting me know that. I love to play hockey. I have a dry sense of humor that’s mainly based on the awkward situations and real life experiences we take too seriously. I try to live life to its fullest. I’m scared of death. When I grow up I want to be a DIYer like nobody’s business. I love to laugh. I used to love to travel until I became a mom and now am afraid of dying in a plane, car or train accident. I always strive to live in the moment, but am not great at it. I’m not a great planner, unless it comes to what my son needs so I make sure of his survival. I crave the outdoors. I’m an introvert by the true definition and am not shy. And I need time to myself, but not too much. This is just a short list of the person I believe me to be, but the list will vary greatly depending upon who you ask.
If you ask my childhood best friend, her list may sound similar to the one I created because as kids, we don’t yet know how to hide who we are. And sadly, I don’t think I have changed much. Everyone sees their own truth. If you could ask my mom, she’d give you a glorified version because she was my biggest fan. My grandma and dad may be a little more realistic to my flaws, but it will still be a glorified version. My coworkers, my college friends, my WI friends, my OH friends, my adult friends, my child, my husband, and those I knew before my mom died versus after my mom died, would all have different answers and it is not because I try and actively change who I am, but it is because of the type of connection we share. It is because of our varying relationships that each person will describe me differently. “Why the hell do we care?” I’m sure you are wondering. Because as my life clock ticks on, I am recognizing the importance of my soul sisters and brothers out there. You know who you are. Without you, I surely would have crumbled to my grave by now, so thank you! And come visit, if you live far away, I miss you.
Life is short “they” always say. Side note: “they” in mine and my dear friend’s (we’ll call her Sally) world, always means a large body of research combined to make our point easier to believe. But it is not until the circles under your eyes become darker by the minute, you see too many hours on the clock between 11pm-6am, and your child is actively growing up in front of you, that you really start to believe it. Until your body starts to feel like someone else’s and not your own, and you can’t imagine leaving the house without makeup on, that you really feel just how short life is because I swear I was cute and energetic once. And once you feel it, you start to ask yourself, am I surrounding myself with people who bring me up? People who make me smile and laugh, at myself especially! People who can laugh at my dry humor and not be offended by it? People who I can relax around and tell the craziest thoughts to and they still like me despite my craziness? People who I want to listen to and be there for not just because I feel like I have to, but because I like them and care for them? And then the real truth hits me right in the gut. I see how short life is because one of those people, one of those beautiful friends, had her life stolen from her...from her own husband.
When I first learned of the news, before I even knew how she died, I was beside myself. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t do anything but cry my eyes out. I’ve had a lot of emotions since then. A lot of moments breaking down and apologizing to Heaven and her for not saving her. Asking my mom to take care of her and show her the ropes in Heaven. Apologizing for not visiting her more. For not sending that thank you card or that personal Christmas card I spent way too long picking out. I had a real wake up call where nothing mattered except the relationships in my life. It’s something you never want to experience, but more than anything you never want anyone else to experience either. The person she most loved in the world, ended her life.
And I talk about this because life can be amazing. But life can be so so hard for some people who you would never expect it to be. The ones we think have it all, sometimes have it all of the wrong things. We have to realize we cannot live in isolation. We cannot do it ourselves. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we try to live this life alone. We must live and connect with other people. We must find our people and embrace them. With both arms. And hug them dearly when we need to. And laugh with them and laugh at life when it gets too hard and unite with the people who can help us find a new path when it is needed.
I don’t know how I truly ended up where I am today. I mean, I could give you the play by play but if you’re not sleeping already, you’d be sleeping by the end of that one. Or you’d be really intrigued by the weirdness of it all. But that’s for another day. And while none of it matters, all of it matters. What brought me to where I am today, for better or for worse, was a series of relationships. With friends, partners, teammates, professionals, kids, and family members. All of my relationships have made me who I am today and will continue to shape the future me. We are in control of the relationships we choose. Why someone enters our life at a certain time, that may be chance or fate. Or God/the Universe (whichever you believe in) sending boats to save us from sinking. It is then that we must decide which boat is best for us to jump aboard. So take a moment to come up for air if you’re sinking. Breathe in and out and see there is a boat for you too. And choose the the boat that makes you float merrily along the river of life that is only but a dream. How you see life and how you decide to live it, is up to you. Seek the people who bring you up and spend your time there. Everything else will fall into place.
-Kathryn Kraft, MPT