Have you ever lost an irreplaceable treasure?
Have you ever lost something intangible and when it was gone felt it could not be replaced?
At one time or another we lose things; they become borrowed but never returned, or they are stolen. Jobs, relationships, wallets, dreams, money, goals and more. In some cases, depending on the value of those items, the loss can cause wishful memories of regret, focusing on what could have been, or those memories could cause bitterness and anger to grow.
I am a writer. A learning, growing writer who has to spend to time honing my craft, and taking advice to continue practicing and improving. Writing is what I am most sensitive about, sometimes spending hours locked away somewhere quiet where no one will find my precious words. Words feel like pieces of my soul, and, for a time, I was unwilling to share those vulnerabilities and open up my words to be seen by others.
That all changed the day my words were stolen.
As a minimalist, my living environment tends to be uncluttered. A laptop stashed here. An iPod on the dock. My guitars lined up, proudly glowing with unplayed musical ability. The day I came home the guitars had been dropped in the living room, as if they had been spooked. The DVDs had been rifled through. The canvas bag of old t-shirts I was going to take to Goodwill had been eased off my hands. The iPod was gone. The laptop had been stolen. And so had my words.
Thousands of words had been stolen. There were half written novels, storylines, and vague concepts. College papers I was proud of, ideas, thoughts, dreams. Words I had carefully curated through stolen moments between late night studying and long, beautiful summers. Words I had placed safely on that laptop, not thinking to store them in Dropbox, Google Drive or even on a Flash drive.
In the blink of an eye, all my words were gone.
As time passed the realization sunk in, and numbed I sat down to look at all that seemed a waste. It was then I stopped writing and gave up on those dreams. Untold stories fell asleep in my mind, and the things I wanted to say through the medium of words lay unsaid. I gave up and stopped writing.
Tangible items can always be taken, borrowed, lost, stolen. But, is it worth it to have nothing? Because if you have nothing, nothing can ever be taken away from you. My reaction was not to write, dream, or create, because what’s the point if eventually it will all be taken away? But as time passed and I missed my words, I realized I was wrong. You see, yes, incidents and bad things we don’t have any control over happen. But what we can control are our actions.
What have I learned from loss? When you lose something precious, give yourself time to grieve, be sad, upset, angry. Feel those emotions but also feel the determination to keep going. Let the loss fuel your energy to move forward.
One year later I began to hesitantly and tentatively blog. Two years after that, I began my novel again. After all, should my words become lost or stolen, at least I will have shared them and inspired others.
What have you lost and what did you learn from that loss?