So just say screw it and carry on.
Don’t do anything extreme. There is a lot of value in life. What I mean is just accept that life sucks. Stop trying to fix everything or make it wonderful. Just accept it, and if possible laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Even if you feel you are stuck in a pit of a black hole, things can change.
Sometimes whatever you do, things suck. You may not be able to get a job after years of study and countless applications or you work hard at a job but you still lose it. You may put everything into a relationship, but you end up sleeping on a friends coach after it goes wrong. You ‘strive’ like you believe you are meant to ‘strive’ to achieve something, to succeed at something, but it remains elusive. You have a health problem occur. Things can go wrong, really wrong. You ask why? Why me?
Bran Tracy says that when when people see the economy is doing bad, they believe it is always going to be bad. But when people see the economy is doing well then they believe the economy is always going to do well, but either belief is wrong. The reality is that it will go and it will go down. I think this statement relates to lots of different kinds of circumstances in life. When life is going well in health, work, money or relationships, you start to think it is always going to go well. But when life goes badly in one or more of these areas, you start to believe it is going to always be bad. Or at worse, you start feeling your life is cursed. This has the potential to come a self-fulfilling prophecy. So don’t go there.
Sometimes life will sometimes run smoothly and sometimes it will be bad. Might as well just accept that. Accept that life sometimes sucks and sometime it is great. The important thing during the bad times is to remember that things can pass and good times can come again. Likewise, in the good times, don’t get too confident and be aware that things can always go bad. This way you can shelter yourself from the highs of the peaks and lows of the troughs.
I experienced both difficult times and good times. In my early 20s, I had some experiences of the troughs. I dropped out of university from a law degree, which I wasn’t suited for. I worked minimum wage jobs for a while, whilst my peers were qualifying and moving into careers and so called ‘proper jobs’. I had a chronic health disease which stalled my life. Years later, I worked for one company that went bankrupt one month after I started working leaving me with nothing to live on. There’s been other stuff and moments when I started to feel it will always be like this, and I couldn’t see a way out.
Then there have been times, when money has flowed to me. I worked at places that have been amazing and I only seem to go up and up. I have had times when my private business was thriving and I almost want there to be no more enquiries because I can’t deal with them anymore. I’ve had moments, when interesting people and experiences have come into my life.
But nothing last forever and it helps me to remind myself that things can go up and then they can go down. Then up again. Then down. But whatever happens, I’ve just got to accept it without too much emotion. That is life.
In health, unfortunately, this lesson is really the great equaliser, I hate to say. A person will be doing very well. Successful with their career. Admired by local friends and colleagues. Enjoying many holidays in exotic locations. Enjoying fine cuisine. But then a terminal illness strikes and within a couple of years, its all gone. This has happened to one of my family members and is a reminder that nothing lasts for ever. In this case, its game over.
This is similar to some Buddhist teachings. The idea of non-attachment, that life is suffering and the lack of permanency of life. Theres a great quote from Kipling in his poem ‘If’:
If you can can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
Kipling capitalises the Triumph and Disaster. I assume that he not only wants to highlight their importance, but also to imply that they have equal importance. Or more precisely – equal un-importance.
Be aware that some difficult times do not always last forever. More than that, just admit that life sometimes sucks and when it sucks it usually sucks plenty. You’ll find yourself in a pit of sickness, a dark hole, like a creature from a black lagoon perhaps, with things going wrong aplenty – new bills appearing out of nowhere, your business and career stalling, partners leaving you, health problems occurring, all sort of things can come together.
But rather than stress, just say screw it. I give up. Just do your worse. I don’t give a damn. Then feel that tension reduce somewhat.
It is our desire to control life that creates this internal tension. Wanting to make life perfect turns us into grasping creatures. But if we can’t get what we want, that only makes us suffer more. We get depressed, irritable, pessimistic and engage in avoidance behaviours like alcohol or addiction.
Try it. At those times, just say screw it. I don’t care. Do what you will. And be playful. Because sometimes when things just don’t seem to be going well, perhaps its time to wonder – is this some kind of cosmic joke? Am I the entertainment for some higher force. Perhaps they’re sitting in another dimension on their sofas, beer in hand, watching your life on a TV screen with an accompanying laugh track. Or maybe you are playing your life on a VR system from another sterile reality, which sucks even more than your life on this Earth. Perhaps your troubles here are a better alternative?
These are just some ideas, but my point is that it might be a better strategy to reframe your situation rather than get too absorbed and depressed about it. And if you’ve really had enough, try the Al Bundy approach, facing life with resigned acceptance:
Al Bundy Quotes from the TV series, Married with Children:
On aspiration: – “every morning I wake up and I know its not going to be any better till I go back to sleep again”
On work: – Peg, you can stab me with knives. You can beat me with clubs. You can make me open my eyes when we’re having sex, but there’s no way on earth you can make me get a second job”.
On relationships: – “We all have to live with our disappointments. I have to sleep with mine”
On life: – “Life didn’t pass me by. It sat on my head”.
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