Friday, December 12, 2008

Back on the Wagon

We all fall off the wagon sometimes, and then must somehow figure out how to climb back on. Life is a process, and often a challenging one. No one gets it right all the time. Even those of us devoted to self-improvement and healthy habits will occasionally indulge in self-destructiveness or poor choices. Sometimes an occasional indulgence devolves into a full-fledged relapse, and instead of being on the wagon, on track as usual, we find ourselves on our rumps in the mud.

That's when it's time to start over. Life is filled with second chances, and third, fourth, and fortieth chances. It is never too late to begin anew. No matter what has gone wrong, or how far off track you've strayed, it is never too late to climb back on that wagon. Whether you've broken your diet and gained ten pounds, or abandoned your exercise routine in favor of channel surfing, you can renew your commitment to health again today. Whether you've given in to the darkness of depression, or to the paralysis of anxiety, you can shake off your demons and reemerge.

"No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back." -- Turkish Proverb

I have been able to maintain excellent emotional health and worldly success for months and even years at a time. And I have, countless times, succumbed to my inner demons, lapsing into lethargy and depression, debilitating anxiety, and even suicidal fantasies. I have been as physically healthy as anyone I know, masterfully fit and strong, with a two-hour-a-day yoga practice. And I have felt as much pain, fatigue, and weakness as someone twice my age or older. Surely, I have seen many highs and lows in this life, and I understand how tempting it is to give up during the dark times.

But I'm still here. I keep working at it; I keep trying. Perhaps on a Tuesday night I'll give up on myself completely, but by Wednesday morning I wake up and try again. I lean on my husband, my friends, my family. I reach out for the assistance of holistic healers and alternative medicine. When necessary, I depend on western medicine. I rely on my spiritual beliefs, yoga and meditation practices, and faith. I lose my way, and then, somehow, eventually, I find it again. I climb out of the mud, get back on the wagon, and begin again.

As a society, we are certainly, collectively, in a very dark time. At the darkest time of the year, we are in the midst of an economic collapse of epic proportions. We are struggling at the tail end of perhaps the most destructive presidency the United States has ever experienced. Yet we will get through this. We have lost our way, yes, but together we will find our way back onto the right track.

It is never too late. Never give up. Life is a circle, and it turns like a wheel. Things will turn around again, for all of us. We will get back on the wagon again.

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