When I was a little girl, I thought life was a dance.

Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella each seemed to flit and float through adversity, always looking exquisitely beautiful. Once she caught the eye of her prince, he would sweep her into his arms and dance her toward happily ever after.

I twirled around in socks on our cold kitchen floor, embracing my life as a dance.

When I was a teenager, I thought life was a game.

If I played harder, smarter, better, I would win. If I followed the rules, created strategic allegiances, and gave it all I’ve got, then I would find my place. I would be noticed, valued, loved.

But everyone was not playing by the same rules, and the rules kept changing on me. Allegiances crumbled. Winning was lonely.

When I was in my twenties, I thought life was a social media contest:

Pinterest-inspired weddings in front of old barns with mason jars and tea lights and white flowers,

Facebook-filled collages of houses in suburbia and cute children saying adorable things,

Instagram-captured trips to exotic places, adventurous endeavors, and ancient buildings next to blue skies and cappuccinos.


But then some of the marriages fell apart. Long commutes in traffic gave less time to enjoy the houses in suburbia, and children are sometimes imperfect (shocker, but this is what I’ve been told). And I found that sometimes those exotic trips were remarkably lonely.

Now I’m in my thirties. I have a long way left to go.

Much of life stopped making sense a while ago. So many people have been taken from this earth too early. So much loss. So much more to lose. The suffering spreads farther, lasts longer, and will not cease.

Life has become an endurance race. Not running to win or lose. Not running from anything or toward anything. Rather, running to take it all in, to breathe deep, to ponder the reality that I may not be passing this way again; it’s best to try and take it in right now.

Breathing is hard sometimes – those mountains can be steep and long.

Breathing is easy sometimes – my lungs delighting in the fresh air and the strength of my legs pulling me forward.

I will keep breathing. I will keep pushing. I will even keep dancing.

More than anything, I will keep enduring.

Forest Park, Portland, OR

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