Last week I had a bad day. I looked at my life and wondered “How did I get here?”. I cried for a little while, and then decided to make tacos for dinner (because who wouldn’t want tacos after having a bad day?). I started a list of things I would need: Ground Beef, Taco Seasoning, Lettuce, Refried Beans, Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream, Taco Shells, Rice…
I checked my wallet: $15.00. I checked the car and found 4 single dollar bills. $19.00… that’s plenty for tacos, right? Then I remembered I needed Drano for one of the sinks. And diapers. Ok, no problem.. so we’ll just forget about the sour cream and lettuce. Who needs those anyways? Not me. That’s when I remembered the bag of change on the dining room table. The rainy day fund. So guess what? I bought diapers and Drano, AND we had tacos for dinner. With sour cream & Lettuce. I was ECSTATIC. Here I was thinking I was going to have to eat sloppy joes for the third time this week, and instead, we were having a feast. A Taco Feast.
I told myself I will never again take a meal for granted. I will never again be in this position.
Then I remembered… I had been in this position before… 4 years ago. I hit rock bottom. I had no family here, and no one to catch me when I fell. I could barely come up with enough money to eat more than once a day, and I told myself every day that once I make some money again I’m never going to take a single thing for granted.
Then I got a new job and everything changed. I bought a new car, I had a big meal every night, and I spent entirely too much money on lunch every day because I was “too good to eat left overs”. I invested in designer jewelry and designer bags. I had money, and just like that, I forgot every lesson I learned from my struggle.
So here I am, 4 years later, not in nearly as bad of a position as I was back then, but struggling nonetheless.
That got me thinking of all of the times I told myself I’d never take something for granted again: When my father passed away (after the initial grief period) I swore I’d never take my family for granted … because life is too short. But eventually I forgot my grief and fell right back into old habits.
The sad thing is, I can think of at least 5 other times I faced a tragedy, or a struggle, and told myself “Never Again”, only to forget after a few months.
When tragedy hits, all we want to do is let go of what happened; we push it to the back of our minds and try to forget. This experience taught me that you should NEVER forget your tragedy. NEVER forget your grief. NEVER forget your struggle. Because everything you go through in life is a lesson.
Now I wake up every morning and think of my struggle. I think of all of the times I couldn’t afford to eat. I think of the pain I felt the moment they told me my father died. I think about the heartbreak I felt when the ultrasound technician couldn’t find our baby girl’s heart beat. And every morning I REMEMBER what is truly important in life, because I refuse to forget ever again.
So here I am: Struggling, not sure what’s going to happen next… and the happiest I’ve ever been. All because I wanted tacos for dinner.