If you had a problem when you were growing up, there were generally two options: you could either cry about it, or ask your parents to help out. More than likely, it was a combination of both.
Let’s say you’ve steamrolled your way into 3rd grade like a rockstar and suddenly you landed a bad grade in math class. Well crap, I guess going to recess and taking naps wasn’t all that school was about. The teacher gave you a lecture and it freaked you out. You’d probably shed some tears, and without much thought, take it one level up the chain and request your parents as a lifeline.
Sounds like a corporate job – just replace your parents with your manager. And maybe the lack of tears.
Voila, problem (usually) solved. Your parents would step in, rolled heads with whoever they needed to, and you’re back in business. No skin off your back.
This generally continued through elementary and middle school ages. When high school hit, you took a bit more responsibility, but always had the comfort of your parents as a backup (and a bank). Bills? Jobs? Laughable.
In college you took on even more responsibility but again, you had a last resort lifeline and your schedule was pretty all over the place, minus class. This is, of course, assuming you went to class.
And then college ended, and real life began. A job, bills, and a routine came into play. Not like you really had a choice, because car payments, student loans, rent, and credit card debt would say hi to you at the end of every month. And they don’t give a crap if you have a job or not, they want their money.
If I didn’t know any better I’d think I was being scammed by a loan shark fronting as a legitimate bank. Oh wait – I am. I’ll just say one thing: don’t rack up debt in your quest to impress, please.
But as time went on, you probably realized one too many times that life just simply got in the way. And it completely took you off your rails for a bit.
Here’s why: as you get older, you fall into more established routines. And the direction you take your life ultimately falls on you. So there we go, humming along, ideally planning out some sort of vision of where we want to go, and taking the steps necessary to get there. But then life reminds us that it’s still there, and it needs things taken care of.
And it needs them taken care of immediately. Pretend that life is like Bill Lumbergh in Office Space. He needs those TPS reports right now.
So I suggest you offer a little pity to others and realize that life actually does get in the way. Considering you’ve been in their shoes, it’s time for a little self-reflection.
If life creeps up on you in just about a hot minute, take a moment to breath and realize a few things.
Don’t Resist Life
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
Name me at least one person who doesn’t love this quote. Yea, look at that, when life gives me something tough I chew it up, make it sweet, and drink it up like it’s my favorite beverage.
Can we agree that’s not really how we feel when life throws us a curveball? Or better yet, that’s not really how we act when life throws us a curveball? OK good, thanks for agreeing. You didn’t really have a choice, by the way.
Before we go any further, let’s take the time to define life for the purposes of this article, so we’re on the same page. I’ve been consistently talking about how life gets in the way, without really explaining what “life” is.
Ok Adam, so what is life?
First off, if you need that question legitimately answered in the philosophical sense, I’m going to disappoint you the same way your first high school crush did. I’m not the right one to answer such an existential question. I’m just a regular dude with a particular mindset on life. But what I can provide you is a simple answer for purposes of this exercise.
Life is real life. Life sometimes compromises the mundane things, from dealing with the good (and the bad) to dealing with the boring things.
We all have some kind of vision for our lives, but life inevitably will creep in and remind us that we have to take care of the seemingly not-so-important-things but in reality they are the important things.
Moving, getting sick, taking a new job, losing a job, family drama, business deals gone bad, getting tied up in emotions, breakups, the list goes on. This is real life. Some we can plan for, others we can’t. And the ones we try to plan for, things never quite turn out exactly like we envisioned.
Step one in your quest to take life head-on: stop resisting. Stop controlling. When things get a little wiry, even a little hairy, let it unfold before you come up with a plan of attack.
What you resist persists, and this translates well with anything in life. The more you fight it, the longer and more annoying it’ll be to deal with.
Let Life Ride
Most of us have these big and grand plans for our life and it gives us something to look forward to achieving.
Life will inevitably sideline your bigger plans at times.
You’ll have to deal with the day to day mundane. You’ll have to deal with tragedy and heartbreak. You’ll have to deal with bigger things, both good and bad, that you may/may not have planned.
This is life. Deal with it.
Don’t get into a tizzy because your master plans or daily routines got temporarily sidelined while life slapped you across each cheek to remind you who’s boss.
Let life show you the way at times. Embrace the unforeseen, embrace the reality. The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you at any given moment.
Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.
A little too preachy and fluffy for you? Let me rephrase it: life isn’t here to fuck you over any chance it gets. Life is here to prepare you for what you need, whether you want to accept it or not. Because life doesn’t give a fuck about whether you’re ready or not.
You have to always be ready.
In fact, this world (and life) is meant to be hard. Because like anything in life, the best ones generally take the biggest slice of the pie.
So get your panties out of a bunch and man up. Only the strong survive. Yeah, this isn’t nature. You won’t die if you let life take the upper hand on you once in awhile. But those who consistently ride out the waves with a good attitude generally get to their destination quicker. Because they know this is only a temporary setback.
Get Back To It Once Life Settles Down
I’m the king of routines. I used to fight it consistently; I craved to be this slick guy of spur-of-the-moment adventure, the type who would fly to New Zealand with just a 30 minute notice (physically impossible, I know). The kind that women just absolutely loved and fell head over heels for.
I imagined myself tatted up and owning a motorcycle and a leather jacket. You know, the kind that women wanted when they were younger. The bad boy.
I hated that I craved routines and plans, and that I was generally a boring person in my day-to-day. I always tried to change it.
But now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that I love routines. But more importantly, I’ve realized that routines are what get you to the next level.
Sure, there’s a place for having a mix of both, but that’s generally not me. And if it’s not you, join the club.
So inevitably when life gets in the way of your established routines, you freak out. Ahh…welcome to my world, suckers.
Even if you don’t really cherish the idea of routines and daily boring habits, life will get in the way and you’ll feel off-centered. No problem. It happens, and trying to resist it will just dig you further in a hole.
Get back to the way you’ve been living life once it settles down.
Because eventually it will settle down, and you’ll be in a position to get back to the way things were (should you choose). Trying to time that is impossible, though.