I know I talk a lot about perspective and happiness, but sometimes it feels like I’m communicating it all wrong. Facing yet another bout of stressful activity and frenzied running around like some sort of chicken in a head-losing competition, I realized what was bugging me about how I went about it. I was too focused on the bright-eyed/optimistic approach, trying to get people to understand that sometimes all it took was an actual decision to feel better and appreciate the stuff around you.
Well of *course* that’s not going to penetrate with some people – it’s far too logical and positive! Realizing that, I’ve discovered another angle I can focus on instead … something that might get the message through a little better.
It never ends.
I’m not speaking to you, High School kids – that particular brand of hell and trauma does in fact have an end-point, and the tables get turned pretty darned quickly. That 6’4″ bully with the annoying laugh who likes to trip you? He doesn’t make the pro football leagues, and his less-than-winning personality prevents him from achieving success at even the overly-cliche jock post-high-shool jobs, like ‘used car salesman’. No, I’m not talking about High School at all … that stuff most certainly ends, thank god.
I’m talking about life. And challenges. And problems, and growing, and struggling.
See, you might be working away at this job that you hate, thinking to yourself, “Man, someday I’ll get a job where I’m not going to have to do this sort of crap, and won’t life be sweet when that happens!” Or you could be putting in 16-hour days on your business, thinking to yourself “This is just temporary, because once I make my first million, I’ll be set, and I’ll be able to relax.”
Sorry to break it to you, but you will always find yourself having to ‘do this sort of crap’. Making a million dollars through your business doesn’t fix any of your problems. In fact, most people say that it just creates more.
That’s why ‘now’ is so important a thing to understand. If you’re saving up all of your ‘happy’ for some time in the future where everything’s perfect, give up on the notion of ‘happy’ altogether. Never gonna happen, son.
A good example … I have a 40-hour work week job. It pays well, and I’m happy to be doing it, because it involves doing stuff I’m good at. Sometimes it involves getting stressed, or trying to do something impossible, or other things that make me want to run out into traffic and head-butt oncoming cars.
On top of that, I do some freelance work that is more closely aligned to my professional goals, and I find that sort of thing rewarding as heck. Of course, it involves dealing with other people and attempting to create a product that they like, which can be frustrating simply by virtue of the fact that some people don’t really know what they like. (Or, even worse, they like some really, really mind-numbingly terrible things. Like ‘Dogs playing Cards’ terrible.)
And of course, on top of that, there’s writing … which can be joyful, stressful, frustrating, maddening, liberating, hilarious, and agonizing all at once. Editing and revising your writing can make you feel more confident and professional, but it can also make you want to weep like a five year old who has scraped his knee on the sidewalk.
There’s never going to be a time for any of these activities – work, freelance or writing – that doesn’t have its ups and downs. It’s not like I’m putting my time in as a writer and thinking “Okay, once I’ve written 10 books, nobody’ll be able to say a goddamn thing about my writing, because it’ll be perfect right out of the gates!” Never gonna happen, Bubba. In fact, the only time you don’t hear about things you’re doing wrong is when you stop caring about what’s wrong, which essentially means you’ve stopped growing.
So, this is it. It never, ever gets any better than it is right now … right this second.
If you want to be miserable and weak, you can get depressed about this fact.
If you’re strong and hell-bent on making the most of your life, you can focus on appreciating the little things a bit more, and stop thinking too hard about some ‘future-perfect’ fantasy situation where everything’s wonderful and you have no problems. Turn the little happy things into big happy things before they disappear and are gone forever.
Eat a cookie. Look at a silly picture. Listen to a funny story, or a stand-up comedian. Read a book. Do it now.
No matter how hard you try to get rid of them, there’ll still be a horde of problems there waiting for you tomorrow. Don’t try to imagine all those problems going away, because they won’t. Focus on some of the good things you can do for yourself right now.
Because those sorts of opportunities never end, either.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 13th, 2013 at 7:34 pm and is filed under Randomness, Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.