Monday, November 16, 2015

The Comfort of the Cliché

There are hard events in my past, things that I don’t talk about anymore, but that once held all the words inside their boundaries.

I have felt all the inappropriate feelings about these things, gone through their cycles and repetitions and levels of strength, tried them out in different patterns, and have abandoned all of them for healthier and more manageable ones.

Time heals all wounds.

Years soften the blows of the past; corners become rounded and worn.  The paint is chipped in places – lines are blurred, edges melt away.  Feelings, once so hard and severe, are muted like watercolors.  Rage and grief turn to angst and melancholy. We fold into more comforting versions of the extremes, and they become old friends who gave us specific personality characteristics.  In time they may only be mere tendencies.

Chalk it up to experience.

I like knowing that no matter what happens to me, there is a precedent that I can lean upon.  All the things I’ve heard, all the things I’ve done – someone else has been there before.  When life is hard, there is comfort in knowing that life runs its course in ways that at least one other person on earth has experienced before.  My life is mine alone, but it’s familiar.  I exist in this place and in this time, but this is also true for everyone else.  We watch world events and note the pace of history and watch it unfold before us. The human experience isn’t so unique. 

You are not alone.

I’m better today than I ever was.  Age and the settling of time are welcome balms on old scars.  Things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore.  New conflicts are approached differently than they would have been twenty, ten, five years ago.  I gave up caring about things that don’t matter, and care more about things that are important.

Age is the mother of wisdom.

Thankfulness and gratefulness are words that mean a lot but aren’t the same.  We are thankful for home, family, freedom.  I am thankful, but haven’t been grateful enough.  Feeling thankful and expressing it go together.  The knowledge that you can’t go back becomes real, and the sense that today is a good day to start is significant.

You never stop learning.

All of our lives are small and short. We are each only one, can only do one person’s work at any given time.  We may want to do big things and accomplish great goals, or we may want to erase the dark spots that we’ve created and hide.  We may be successful at each of these things.  But we all have the same end.

Death is a part of life.

Another year is coming to an end, and with it come all the old patterns.  Time flies by so fast now that just yesterday I was doing this very thing – preparing for end of year holidays.  Marking my calendar, shopping for gifts, noting old traditions and trying out new ones to shake the dust off of life – wasn’t I just doing this?

Time marches on.

Toward the end of her life, my great grandmother peered at me and said “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  As my life continues on without her, I realize her wisdom.  Instead of considering that life is just a hamster wheel of inevitabilities, I realized that I can make it what I want, but that humility is key.  Her familiar words have clear meaning.

They wouldn’t be clichés if they weren’t true. 



  1. I adore this, all of it. There is so much unequivocal truth. Experience is a harbinger for acceptance. "Feeling thankful and expressing it go together" was my favorite part because I struggle with this realism always.

    1. Thank you, Arnebya. I have such trouble with being grateful. I forget that others don't see into my well-constructed bubble all too often.

  2. I love universal truths, because you can't really argue with them. They are just tried and true. Love this, Andrea!

    1. Thanks, Kerstin. I find myself clinging to the universal truths more and more. I'm relieved that I don't have to figure some things out on my own.

  3. I love when your posts are funny and I love when your posts are contemplative.
    (Hint: I love all your posts.)

    This one made me nod. There are reasons for cliches.
    We forget that sometimes...

    1. Thank you, Julie. And I love all of your comments. You always seem to know the best words to use. xo

  4. This is really who you are, I feel it. A sweet, simple, striving soul... aiming to be understood and holding out for spark when someone looks at you and you feel it, I know her.

    I know you, Andrea. And I love you . xo

    1. Look at you, making me all weepy this morning, in the best way. You do know me - all I want is to be understood. You got that from this post?

      Thank you so much for this. I love you right back. xo