Saturday, January 30, 2016

30. Tough Times

I believe there is a time in everyone’s life where they are thrown off-balance. Not in a physical way, but in a psychological way. I believe everyone at some point in their life is thrown a challenge they never expected. It feels like the pain will never end, nor while your wheels ever get out of the rut they are stuck in.

I believe these moments are good things. Before I go any further, I realize I am speaking from a place of privilege. I have always had a roof over my head and enough money to get by. I am educated and have a stable family. I’ve had lots of good things in my life and I am thankful for them. Many people have had it worse off than me.

But, no matter our station in life, we all are faced with challenges. I’m almost two years from a challenging time in my life where I was rocked off my course.

Today, I am OK. I have a good job and good friends.

Looking back at it, I realized I tried to force my out of my problem. I would tell myself, “I will do X and everything will go back to normal.” I’ll be happy again. I’ll be back together with her. Everything will work out.

X rarely solves all of our problems. In fact, I doubt any substantial problem in life can be solved with a one-off solution. It was tough going for a few months there, but things calmed down with time, distance, and attention elsewhere. Those issues just fit into the place they were supposed to. Everything isn’t hunky dory in my life, but it is where it’s supposed to be and I have accepted that.
I am more sure of who I am than I was two years ago. I’m loyal. I’m compassionate. I’m curious. I don’t need much in the way of creature comforts to be happy. I don’t care for loud bars and I think packing a lunch is a smart idea. I think staying up past 11 p.m. is usually a waste. Maybe I knew these things a few years ago, but now more sure of them.

I think one of the questions I’ll begin to ask on dates is, “What is the most difficult experience you have ever had in your life?” I don’t know if I would be comfortable dating someone whose foundations haven’t been shaken at least once. If we expect our ship to keep sailing smoothly through life, we’ll end up disappointed or unhappy.

I try to tell myself to breathe when I’m faced with something challenging these days.  Most of the time it works out. Things even out and I go on with my day. I don’t think bad things will automatically destroy me anymore. And I know I can’t just fix everything with the push of a button. I have to breathe and fix one thing at a time and realize that it may not all work out in the end.

The tide comes back in, eventually. It just took it disappearing to figure that out.

1 comment:

  1. I like this question: “What is the most difficult experience you have ever had in your life?” In fact, I routinely ask if of scholarship applicants because the answers often say a lot about how self-reflective a person is and how well-prepared they are to deal with actual adversity vs. "I didn't get what I wanted for Christmas this year." Nice piece Nick!