(Note: as I mentioned in “About MMM,” some of these posts are from my former blog, because they fit the MMM theme. This is one of those posts… and it’s been modified.)
As I get older, I find that I tend to learn the most valuable lessons from the most horrible situations. I wish there were a better way— if someone knows of one, please share it with me!
One especially meaningful experience involves someone I once loved very dearly, but am no longer friends with. He seems to think that my life is a lot better than his, and he resents me for it. This isn’t just an assumption on my part. He actually said this to me.
It’s been a while since we’ve communicated, and given how much anger he threw at me the last few times that we talked, I’m okay with that. However, as part of my never-ending quest to turn misfortune into something better, I can honestly say that he’s taught me something valuable.
The last time we talked, he made it clear that he felt like time has passed him by— that he would no longer will be able to find that dream job, that dream partner, etc. Basically, he’d given up. I tried to convince him that wasn’t the case, but when someone has his mind made up that his life is really crappy— it’s hard to get him to think otherwise.
Here’s my attitude… and I understand if others don’t subscribe to this philosophy (trust me, I know I do not have all the answers): Life is NOT a pass/fail course— at least when it comes to most things. Most of the time, you can’t “fail”… because there is no limit to how many times or how long you can keep trying (until you pass away, of course— but that’s a whole other issue).
Every stumbling block, every obstacle, every hole you fall into while you’re trying to get to your goal… is really frustrating and crushing. Trust me, I know. But if you choose to examine the obstacles more closely, they can also be incredible learning experiences that ultimately help you grow. They never have to mean that you’ve failed. Unless *you* decide to give yourself that “F”— and give up.
In Life, there are no referees on the sidelines ready to blow that final whistle. No judges declaring, “game over— stop all of your efforts now!” Only YOU can make that declaration. And if you truly want something more than life itself, why would you do that to yourself?
I understand the feeling of being knocked down and not wanting to get up again. I understand the feeling of being too tired to keep fighting a battle you don’t think you will ever win. Those times are inevitable, and they are a sure sign that you need to take a rest and recuperate. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Laugh. Remind yourself about what’s important in life. Take as much time as you need (be it five minutes or five months) to regain your strength. Then get back up and get moving again.
Easier said than done, I know. But IMHO, it beats the alternative— dwelling in misery and depression. And it’s certainly better than attacking people who you think are doing “better” than you are. Each of us needs all the help we can get.