Friday, December 29, 2006

Hard: Variations on a Theme

Just when I thought I had nothing to say, I came across a post that made me think. Bub and Pie wrote recently about Irreducible Complexity. Now, B&P's posts always tend to open my eyes and mind, which is one of the reasons that her blog is one of the first ones that I check each day. As I was about to post a comment, I read Beck's and saw that I wasn't the only one who was inspired. I followed to her blog, where she continued the theme, writing about when things are hard. And then I realized that I, too, had something to say.

I've done many things in my life simply because there were hard. In Grade 13 (yes, I'm so old that they still had a Grade 13), I took Calculus as one of my six OAC's. I've always been good at school, but I've never been especially good at math, and this has always burned my bum. When I was picking my classes, I automatically ruled out Calculus, because I knew I would do badly. When I realized this, I added it to my course load, because I was damned if I wouldn't take a class simply because I thought I wouldn't do well. Guess what? I didn't. I went into the final exam with a just barely there D, and only through the help of a week-long crash course from my tutor/angel, did I finally bring that up to a respectable C. It pulled my average down, but I don't regret it, no siree. I passed!

When it came time to pick what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I chose Acting. Because I loved it? Yes, of course. But also because I knew that if I went to university majoring in English (my other choice), I would do well. No question. I had no idea what would happen if I chose Acting. I didn't even know if I would graduate. I did graduate, but I wasn't successful at it out in the real world. Part of me thinks that it's because I never truly believed I could make it as an actor. The truth is, I'm probably just not all that good. Do I regret it? I regret the time that I lost and the fact that I have to play catch-up now, but otherwise, no. It was hard, but it was a path I had to take. It brought me to where I am today.

Motherhood. Quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done, and it's not getting any easier. I could spend the better part of week, perhaps a month, describing all the things that are hard about motherhood: sleep deprivation; breastfeeding a child who doesn't ever seem hungry; hours and days of non-stop screaming for no reason; surgery at two months; tantrums; I-wants; Don't-want-tos; I-want-outs...the list goes on and on. Do I regret it? At some 4am feedings I came close, but otherwise - not on your life. The hardest thing of all has been the most rewarding. For every hard moment, the has been an equivalent moment of pure joy. The purest joy. Joy that I didn't think I was allowed to feel. Joy that most days I don't even feel I deserve.

I repeated to Beck one of my favourite quotes from a movie that, however average, is still one of my favourite ones to watch when I'm feeling low, "A League of Their Own": "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."


bubandpie said...

I always think of this idea when I read about men in mid-life crisis: waah waah, I'm stuck with my two cars and my house in the suburbs and my 2.5 children and my stable job and now I need to have an affair and find myself. And I think, "what you really need is to have gone through a long period of unemployment, or infertility, or a long time when you thought you might always be alone, before all that stuff just fell into your lap." You appreciate things more when they are hard to come by.

But I don't think I could say that I have ever deliberately chosen the harder route - passed over something I could do well in favour of something more challenging, where the risk of failure was real. Bub comes by his personality honestly, I think.

Beck said...

I screw up things I'm GOOD at, so I can't even begin to imagine doing something because it's hard. My whole life is a monument to I Like To Take The Easy Route; my body, especially, is rewarding me for 34 years of sloth and gluttony. Marriage - my relationship with my husband is a looong story - and motherhood are the first challenges I haven't run away from. Did I mention that I suck?
Great post!

Damselfly said...

That's so weird -- just yesterday, I was thinking to myself that my former boss used to say, "If this was easy, then everyone would be doing it." And I was thinking that while trying to get my child to go to sleep.

I am usually up for a challenge because otherwise life gets boring. When I was pregnant and people would say to me, "Your life is going to change so much," I would tell them, "I sure hope so."

owlhaven said...

great post! Here from Bubs

Kyla said...

Everyone is on the same page today. :) Motherhood in itself is difficult. Mothering a different sort of child is even harder. Worrying about your child's well-being when there is a real threat to it is almost unbearable. The sweetness of watching that child overcome those threats is indescribable. The harder something is, the more rich the reward.

Choosing the more difficult path is rare (kudos to you, I follow more closely after Beck's personailty type *lol*), but walking that path either by choice or by chance is still the greatest thing you'll ever do.

Mad Hatter said...

I've found that so many of the best actors haven't had successful careers. Just sayin'.

Yup, this motherhood gig is hard but, boy oh boy, is it sweet. If all the hard things in life could love us unconditionally (at least for a brief while) then maybe pain really would be a virtue.

Sandra said...

I love this post. I really really do. There is so much insight and truth in it.

Wishing you a very happy New Year!!!

ewe are here said...

Great post.

Funnily enough, I took physics for the same reason you took calculus way-back-when: to prove I could do it. And I know I've done other things the hard way just to prove I could. Happy to say that, also like you, I don't regret those decisions because it brought me to this place, happily married with a wee one and another one on the way.

Being a mom IS hard. But the quote is right - it's what make's it great!

Much cheer to you and yours!

kittenpie said...

I totally hear you on this. I alwyas seem to do best with teachers who are tough - they make me put my shoulder to the wheel in a way that others don't.