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toothpaste

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Life is like a tube of toothpaste. It’s hard to squeeze the last bit out.


Sometimes it feels like we are on the outside squeezing the tube. Other times, it feels like we are stuck inside, unwillingly confined—part oozing gob of goo, part misshapen mess, with some of it in, and the rest of it out.

After a lot of time spent toiling with the tube of life, I have concluded it is worth the effort getting the last bit out. Sure, it would be easier to just leave what’s left and open a new one, but then we’d run the risk of leaving something important behind. The undiscovered bits.


If toothpaste could have a soul purpose, perhaps it would be to teach us perseverance, tenacity, and grit.


My last tube took a long time to work through. What was left in there was relentlessly stuck. I’m stubborn, so I didn’t walk away. I tried very hard for a long to free it, but it wouldn’t budge. Yet, I pressed on. When it finally came out, it was just what I needed.


At the end of the tube, was a return to adventure, happiness, contentment, a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the world, and some of the answers about the future that had been evading me.


You might ask how metaphorical toothpaste could contain all that, but it did. It just needed to be released. I think I had started to doubt that the things that used to make me happy still would, or could. I had not been able to travel far, or freely in several years, and that made me more stir crazy than I had admitted. Without the freedom to roam, I was just not myself.


That last burst out of the tube sent me out on the road to travel the Oregon coast, a place I had long wanted to explore, but had not. Within a week of deciding to do it, I had charted a course, booked dog-friendly hotels, and set out for an adventure with my canine companion.


We embraced the open road, chased waterfalls, and found our way to the Pacific Ocean. My dog saw it for the first time. I was called back to it like it was home.


Feeling the sand under my feet and hearing, smelling and seeing the ocean again made me feel better. It was as if I was whole again in an instant. My senses that had become muted and dull, awakened. Our connection to nature is powerful, and vital. I am sure people are connected to different parts of it, but for me, it is the trees, and the sea. They speak to me. They replenish my energy. They are a part of me. In the absence of the ocean, I was not quite myself. That last bit that was stuck was freed.


The start of a new tube is like the dawning of a new day, or a new chapter. It is fresh, fast, and unknown. It is like a rush of enthusiasm. I may prefer the ease of the beginning, rather than the toil at the end, but both have their place in our lives. We need balance to keep us grounded. We need both easy and hard stuff to teach us important lessons.


My advice…when things seem hard, just keep squeezing. Life is like a tube of toothpaste…you never know what you’re going to get, but there’s good stuff at the end.



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