“You can’t fill from an empty cup.”
I think about that phrase a lot as I try to do everything constantly. I first heard it when I was in the hospital last year, in a group session where the nurses were explaining the importance of self-care. The idea naturally seems so simple to understand: we can’t give to others if we are have nothing to give.
Lately, though, this phrase has drastically morphed inside my head. What if we keep filling our own cup yet still finding it empty? How do you fill a cup that has been shattered or is so worn down that here are small cracks that constantly leak? That’s the cup I feel like, the one that’s past its time, the one that is ready to leave the cabinet for good. The truth is that, no matter what I do, I always feel lost, without purpose, just perpetually… empty. Am I the only one who feels like that? How does one repair their cup when it feels broken beyond repair?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Being two months shy of 31 and in the midst of the complete chaos of a career change is absolutely terrifying, especially when you are the only person you know over the age of 25 who has a college degree and is completely unemployed. In many ways, making the choice to walk away from a career that 10 years ago seemed like my “happily forever after” is one of the most impulsive and painful decisions I’ve ever made.
The wait for the news if I’ve been accepted into grad school feels like I’m stranded in a time warp, living the same moment eternally. I spend each day questioning if I really made the right choice, if this will all be worth it someday, or if this is just the start of my spiral into years of constant job hopping. My friends say that it’s admirable that I’m taking this bold, courageous step towards something I desire. Yet, there are so many moments where I feel the stinging eyes of judgment, that people see me as lazy and hopeless. Is that all there is to life? You’re either successfully involved in a career or you are a useless waste of a person? Have I become a failure?
“The worst battle you will face is between what you know and what you feel.”
I live in a constant state of war between my head and my heart, and maybe we all do. Maybe it looks like constantly second-guessing yourself or trying to suppress your feelings because your brain thinks they don’t make sense. Perhaps it’s that constant tugging of your heartstrings telling you that the life you are living isn’t really what your heart wants, a life that maybe provides or feels comfortable, but leaves you feeling like there’s something always missing, like a void inside your soul.
It can leave us utterly exhausted and dysregulated as we trudge through the dissonance within ourselves. Life becomes bleak with no signs of rest on the horizon. For me, it’s a constant balance act on the tightrope, sometimes wishing I could simply plummet and end the acting once and for all. I’m far from having the answers and nowhere near mastering how to make the head and heart agree, but I am working hard on trying to find that middle path. I simply want a life worth living.
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love.”
In the last 2 years, I’ve learned so much, including that there is simply no such thing as perfect. There’s no perfect life, no perfect marriage, no perfect family. To be human is to be imperfect, and to be human is to be uniquely beautiful, so imperfection looks great on us all.
Although there is no perfect love, there is an absolutely fantastic kind of love: unconditional love. I’ve found that many people say that they love you, but it can often be a fleeting, fair-weather fondness that never survives the storm. Somehow, though, I’ve also come to find that there are people in my life who do care unconditionally, and I am eternally grateful to have them by my side. We all need to learn to be this kind of love to people in this world, but we also simply need to recognize when we’ve found unconditional love so we can hold on tight and never let go.
It’s the best kind of feeling in the world, to show your flaws to the world and have someone say, “I see them, but I love them because they are a part of you.” It may be the only pure, honest thing in this entire world to allow yourself to be stripped bare, to present yourself in full vulnerability, and know that you are loved. Maybe that’s what makes life worth living?