Surviving the Good, the Bad and the Ordinary

Each phase of life requires a different you.

Have you ever felt like dying? If not, keep living. Life will test you. Then break you. But it will also build you back up again. Life comes in waves. There are dark times, periods of sustained joy and long intervals of the mundane — where nothing of import on either side seems to happen. We face highs, lows and in-betweens. Each phase presents its own set of challenges.

We know all about the weight of sadness. It doesn’t need to be discussed much because we’ve all been there and possibly left weakened in its wake. We know what it’s like to battle with our own psyche when it feels as though it is out to destroy us. Fighting to understand, to let go and to heal in this stage is one of the most difficult things we endure. Sadly nothing, not books, not talks nor our strength can speed up the process, which could be different every time.

On the other hand, it seems odd to consider joy as presenting difficulties. It’s naturally the easiest state to exist within. Being happy feels good. If I were to think of a few elements that could be troublesome they’d all center around our own doing. Rarely do we just allow ourselves to be happy. We experience it with hesitance, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We give too much attention to potentially negative aspects of whatever has brought us joy. We become so jaded that we don’t trust or expect it to last. This kills our joy prematurely. Or, we think we’re supposed to feel this way all the time and put tremendous pressure on ourselves and others to maintain our bliss. Happiness becomes a thing to work for, that we often force and fake.

Then there comes the period that is neither high nor low. It rests in the middle. The ordinary moments can be just as draining. They can have us searching for meaning and purpose. We want to be something else, somewhere else. Our waiting for that which we desire grows tiring. We wonder if this is it for us, if this is life. And if so, how disappointing it all seems. Yet, there is peace to be found in the usual, if we can only stop wishing it were something more.

I wanted to end this with a profound message. I’d hoped to offer a grand solution on how you survive it all. But the answer is, you just do. You just keep learning, keep growing, keep loving — keep going.

Author of the critically acclaimed book on women and relationship status, “Single That.”

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