I think life is trying to make me a humble warrior.
It’s an earned title.
A warrior denotes someone who is battle tested, who has shown strength not just once or twice, but over prolonged periods of hardship. Someone who rushes headlong into the fray when necessary, who prefers resolution of some sort to running scared for most of life.
Ah. Now some of you are nodding. You are a kindred spirit, yes? Life has similar plans for you?
I at first resisted the term “warrior” because the focus seemed to be on battling against something.
Until I figured out, I am a warrior because I fight for things, not against them.
You may think I’m just playing at semantics here, but no.
Are you fighting to save your family from financial ruin or for your vision of your family’s secure future?
Are you fighting to keep your child out of trouble or to give him a vision of the future in which he plays a key positive role?
Are you battling to keep your home environment from descending into chaos or to create an environment which promotes peace?
The former in each of these scenarios is fear-based, the latter a vision to achieve.
Think this is a miniscule difference? Think again. Life shows us otherwise.
I know a woman who is so desperate to date again, who has such a void in her life to fill, that she asks for dating advice from anyone who will listen. She scours the online sites, checks out colleagues at meetings and is not above flirting with her children’s school personnel (which is a little awkward for them).
All the while, her house is a mess, her finances unorganized, her children beg for more time from her.
I am not in a position to judge, given I have faults of my own to take care of—but her situation begs the question: what are you fighting for? In this situation, I don’t see a for, just an against.
She is fighting against being alone, lonely and bored. Instead of for her best self and who that might attract. Imagine the possibilities. Which woman would you want to date? The one who makes finding you her business, at the expense of her kids and everyday life? Or the one who’s taking care of the kids and everyday life, as well as her own interests? The one who is fascinating because she is so engaged in creating what she wants out of life, partner or no?
I know another woman (amazing how this works, isn’t it?) whose regular Botox and Restylane injections, not to mention her tummy tuck, boob job and permanent eyeliner procedure, add up to more than my annual car payment, I’m sure. She is married to a very successful man who has been married before.
The plethora of cosmetic procedures are to stave off a chronological age she does not accept. So she frantically nips, tucks and freezes various body parts to hold on to a youth that passed her up long ago. Instead of embracing the mystical wisdom, style and grace that come to women who accept their changing persona (hello, Katharine Hepburn), she ignores these gifts to chase after some that are no longer hers to accept.
She fights against her real age instead of for metamorphosing into a wiser, more beautiful version of her younger self. And at times, it borders on ridiculous.
Perhaps because the last few years of my life have been tough, I have less patience than I might otherwise have for people who are self-absorbed; I find the words, “get over yourself” on the tip of my tongue. If you’re going through a tough time, my compassion for you has grown. But if your biggest concern is less than substantive, I find myself yawning and turning away.
Find a lofty goal. Run that marathon, feed the hungry, write that book. That I respect. But scoring a date and/or a boyfriend? Please. That’s the byproduct of an interesting life, not the goal.
And while you’re nipping and tucking, how about reading a good book? Volunteering for charity? Learning how to speak Japanese? Any of the above bring an interesting beauty, a beauty from within that does not fade. I’m sure your partner would prefer sparkling conversation and energy for life to a constant obsession with sagging eyelids and facial creams. Or maybe not. But if the latter, it might be time to rethink the partner.
I’ve lost two of my best loved to death in the past couple of years; another to a painful but necessary divorce. A fourth battles cancer, like a boss, every day. I’ve faced possible financial ruin, funerals, courtrooms, hospitals and hospices. Gossip, small minds and egos galore. I choose not to focus on any of these, but rather, on what lies ahead. On who I am becoming, yes–still becoming, even in my middle years.
That is what defines a humble warrior. You focus on the vision, leaving all unnecessary accoutrements behind. And you continue to do so, to show strength of body, mind, heart, soul and character, even on days it is not convenient to do so. The humility comes in knowing the strength is provided to you. Your job is just to be a worthy enough vessel to be able to channel it properly.
You want to focus on that furrow between your brows or your sagging eyelids? Be my guest.
That’s not why I’m here.