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The Way We Were

As I sat in a waiting room, I found myself going straight for my phone...because what else would you do while you’re waiting? I had been making a conscious effort to avoid constantly looking at my phone while I waited.

I’m sure a lot of you can relate, but as soon as I have a spare moment of doing nothing, especially if it involves waiting, I’m automatically programmed to reach for my phone and check my newsfeed or emails. It seems we’re always trying to fill the void by distracting ourselves with technology. But if we could just sit still for a few minutes, without being swallowed by the online world, our senses would come alive, we would feel and be more mindful of our surroundings, hear sounds, strike up an interesting conversation and see beauty we would otherwise miss. I know this, yet I still succumb to the temptation of looking at my phone. What if I miss something?

And what else would happen if I just stayed present? What am I afraid of? What I realized is when I disconnect, even for a moment, I sometimes also feel pain. I’m forced to face reality and my inner struggles because I’m sitting with them, without any noise. Just me, myself and my inner struggles. There’s so much power in that. We often hear that light grows from darkness, but if we never face the darkness and we keep masking it with distractions, when will we ever witness the light? If we don’t sit in silence and constantly try to fill the dead space, how can we ever reflect, create awareness of the self and connect to our true essence? And distraction from emotion can never lead to happiness.

So I decided to put my phone away, and as I was sitting still in my attempt to disconnect, I heard the muzak version of Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were in the background and it made me nostalgic.

Memories light the corners of my mind

Misty water-colored memories of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line

If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

Memories may be beautiful and yet

What's too painful to remember

We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter we will remember

Whenever we remember the way we were

The way we were

It got me thinking about the past and who I used to be before kids. We sometimes wish we could have that life back again. The freedom. The sleeping in. Taking care of our needs and our needs alone. But, what’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget. We only remember the good times because we sometimes believe that our past or even our future is much better than the suffering we’re experiencing today. This is why we struggle to live in the now, because the now sometimes feels heavy. This is why we use distractions like technology to temporarily numb that pain. This is why we reach for those addictions when we have a moment alone with our thoughts. What are we afraid will come out if we just sit alone with ourselves?

Dwelling on the past doesn’t mean in any way that we don’t love our children and that we don’t want to be their mom. I’ve faced my fair share of mom guilt so I’ve decided to let go of that nagging feeling. There is nothing wrong with mourning for the past. But, I’ve learned to mourn and release it because all that matters is the now. The past is gone. What matters is who you’ve become today and will become because of your kids.

I’ve let go of the way I was, because that person no longer exists. I’ve thanked her for making me the strong, beautiful woman I am today, and I’m finally embracing who I’m meant to become thanks to motherhood.

Oh and had I not put the phone away, I wouldn’t have heard the music or addressed my thoughts. This entire blog post would not have existed :)

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© 2020 Carine Sroujian