To Enjoy Summer You Must Suffer Through Winter

Now there’s a thought that just hit me this morning… This may not be obvious if you live in countries where four seasons are not part and parcel of the regular cyle of life. Here in Europe we go through the four seasons and pattern our lives accordingly in an intrinsically interconnected way. For example, you plant in Spring in order to harvest in Summer; you harvest in Summer and pickle the produce so that you have something to tide you over the Winter, and so on. It boils down to needing one season to survive and or enjoy the other.

As long as you’re still alive, you always have the chance to start again.”
Emily Acker, No Longer Broken 

In a similar manner, in order to settle in adulthood, there is no way around the turbulent indentity-crisis-ridden teenage years; the lost 20s where you are trying to establish your professional identity and general direction in life; the unsettling 30s where you realise that youth is not eternal after all and you have to finally wake up and smell the fucking coffee; your 40s where career, family and society pull you in a three-way-free-for-all tug-of-war, draining you of individualism and freedom, chaining you to obligations and deadlines. The list goes on, but the point is that in order to reach the stage in life that you are aiming for, regardless of age, you have to go through the motions, collecting those experiences that become stepping stones to fortitude, courage, and serenity. Life is definitely not like a meal where you can sometimes skip the apetizers and catapult straight to dessert.

Mondays are generally crappy days, wherein I generally tend to stumble through the day in a daze, regretting that I didn’t write more, photograph more or even just sleep more! It is the kind of day when being alive and breathing is the major achievement of the day. However, my day yesterday was filled with reasons to be incredibly grateful to be living in Portugal at this stage in my life. I was served up a platter of blessings that left me speechless, stunned that someone could be so selfless and generous, giving me a much covetted break in life. After six years of agony and despair, I stand strong and proud in the Iberian light and embrace the miracles.

Thank you are two little words that people take for granted, but don’t even begin to cover how I really feel at the moment.
Thank you, to GR and family for the path home,
Thank you to FR for calling and making me an offer I cannot refuse!

So when I put on my sandals this morning and looked at my feet, that is when it hit me – in order to enjoy these open, carefree shoes in summer, you have to take care of your feet during winter, nourish and protect them so they are ready to shine and greet the world with a smile. Strange that I never really dared to bare my feet in sandals in Berlin, but have absolutely no qualms about it here in Portugal. It’s not just the weather factor, but the lack of hesitation and insecurity that has vanished, and my newfound ability to trust the flow. Believe me, I am aware how wishy-washy this sounds, but for anyone who has gone through hell and survived it, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is about learning to breathe again without choking or being strangled by life.

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