As the U.S. mourns the passing of Betty White (RIP), I’m also noticing a number of people start 2022 off in a thematic way: By cursing or essentially saying “good riddance” to 2021. And I get it — that trend settled in during 2020 (lots of years in this opening)… But… We have to remember to appreciate it all – the good AND the bad.
I don’t say this as a person who has never experienced loss or pain. I don’t say this as someone who has never missed an opportunity. I don’t say this as someone who feels like he has all of the time in the world. We have to remember that “good” and “bad” are relative, and everything serves a purpose in the summation of our life.
Real Life isn’t Social Media or Netflix
I think we’ve grown somewhat accustomed to editing out things we don’t enjoy or skipping the bad/boring stuff to get to our favorite part(s). Life doesn’t work that way.
We are, all of us, in one big narrative during the span of our existence. Whether or not that story resolves itself in a happy manner depends entirely on one thing: Perspective.
The funny thing about all of that is that perspective is something that is more easily gained when you aren’t “in the storm”, so to speak.
It is very easy for me to say these things now than it was the first time I dealt with a personal tragedy (the unexpected loss of my older brother at an early age). The world is so clear now that I’m not laying inside a hospital worrying about my health. I can see things a lot more clearly now that I’m not dealing with a bout of depression or a broken heart. My eyes are open when I’m not disappointed about NOT landing a job I wanted while desperately being stuck in one that I don’t enjoy. (And that’s just naming a few things off the top of my head — nowhere near a total listing of the pains I’ve personally felt.)
But… frankly… those moments of anguish were the traits of a younger and more inexperienced mind (on my part — I can’t speak for what everyone else is going through).
Eventually, upon realizing that I can’t edit out or skip things I didn’t want, I accepted my experiences with all of their ups and downs because I knew that one led to another.
Because of the pain that I’ve experienced in my past, I have learned resiliency, and that E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G feeds into the overall narrative of my happiest and saddest days.
There is Something Beautiful in it All
The funny thing about a lot of it, once you’ve felt the big hits and start to roll with the punches more, is that you start seeing both the light and dark side in it all. There’s a balance in it all.
I have dealt with rejection in a number of ways (professionally and personally) — I think this just taught me how to take “no” in an emotionally healthy way and keep looking forward to the days a “yes” comes along.
I have tasted what it feels like to live a life I genuinely hated — I think it taught me what mattered most and pushed me to strive to live a better life that I loved (on my own terms).
Fact: Sometimes we need the push of a negative event to push us toward more positive outcomes.
Additional Fact: Sometimes we don’t gain a clearer view until we lose our way first.
I know those sound like platitudes, but anyone who has lived a little can tell you that there is genuine truth in those words. Look below the surface if you want to find gems.
Nothing is Permanent
Whether you’re riding on high or at your lowest of lows, none of it is permanent, so don’t get too wrapped up in the extremes of NOW! Everything is but a moment in the grand scheme of things (particularly – “in our lives”), and our fortunes can change based on our decisions, habits, and sheer good or bad luck.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not just talking about bad things here – I’m talking about good things, too.
We live in a state of flux, and that’s part of what makes life wonderful. It is key to how we learn and grow, and a big ingredient to what makes us human… Things change.
Ultimately, although we may be dealing with something we aren’t loving right now…
Some of us may be down…
Some of us may be at the end of our rope…
But, if you give it time – your perspective on the current situation WILL evolve if you’re open to it doing so. Life has a funny way of altering things that you do or don’t appreciate, and there are a variety of beneficial and detrimental results to everything.
I encourage you to strive to look for the good that comes out of your deepest pains over time.
Last Thing: You Never Know What’s Coming
I say this to lighten the mood a bit from the stuff above — but… about COVID — you never know what’s coming. These last couple of years have impacted EVERYONE and have been beyond tough for some, but as a society – this could be a big test to prepare us for our first contact with extraterrestrial life (think about it) 😄
I say that a bit “tongue in cheek” and not to make light of it entirely. I know that people have lost people in a very real way (and I’m sorry for your loss).
The overall intention of that is to illustrate that we really DON’T know what’s coming. No one — with 100% certainty — can tell me that the first (very outlandish) part of this section is wrong.
Now, take that same flippant perspective and apply it to your life like the rebel that you are. Look in the face of anything that has you down. Stare at it. And mentally tell if that there’s no telling what’s next.
It could be bad, but it could also be GOOD! Either way, you need one to have the other – so why not try to appreciate, respect, or accept it all?
It is the only certain thing you can do in the face of uncertainty (crazy as that sounds).
I know that I took that to an odd place for the start of a New Year and that everyone is either riding into the day with a super determined attitude or that I should be super grateful for just the good things, but that’s not where my head is at right now. I want to encourage people to accept ALL OF IT.
Not just the parts you like. Not just the parts that hurt. ALL OF IT.