what happens when we let ourselves live?

Last night, about 5 minutes after I walked into Braxton brewery to grab a few beers with some friends, a guy walked up to me and introduced himself. Turns out, he had a class with Alyssa back in high school some 13 or 14 years ago. He told me about how much Alyssa inspired him and how awesome he thought she was. He mentioned that within a couple of days after her passing, something happened that reminded him of a funny story from high school and how he wanted to reach out to her, only to realize he couldn't.

He continued to offer me support and kind words about my sister. He spoke glowingly of her. It's moments like these where life pauses for a short time: I'm reminded of the huge impact my sister made on people's lives and how people think about her every single day.

Lately, I've been worried about the same old shit I was worried about when my sister was here. I worry about being late to things, my diet, missing out on events, if people judge me. Losing my sister upended my life and I thought it changed everything. But, in many ways, it hasn't.

I told myself a few months ago that I wasn't letting myself be happy because I didn't deserve it; If I wasn't happy with stable health when my sister was alive, then I don't deserve it when she's gone. That was a cop-out. I was refusing to let myself live the life my sister wanted me to live, and the one I deserve to live.

That conversation last night was a necessary reminder that I need to treat life for what it is: A series of fleeting moments filled with large and small joys and disappointments. It is both the most and least serious thing we ever do. We can choose to take every situation and pretend like it's the end, but, even if it were the end, approaching life with disdain or frustration only mitigates the joys we feel when we simply let ourselves live.

Take note of the moments throughout your day when you feel the simplest joy. You know the type, that joy that just resonates throughout your whole being, the world around you and whatever issues you have just slip away for a short time. Whenever you experience that moment, just let it happen. Rejoice in that deserved nirvana. Experience it and recognize that you do deserve to feel that.

So, what happens when we let ourselves live? I bet that question answers itself.

This week, I'm going to try to let myself live. I hope you do the same.