How To Pull Yourself Up After Everything Falls Apart
If you’re a lucky bastard, this will only happen to you once or twice in your life: Everything will fall apart, either through your own doing or just because when the universe flings poo, it has to land somewhere and this time it hit you. The list of major life upheavals is oddly short (lost love, new career, insane academic/career pressures, death of someone close enough to smash you into the pavement for a deep long while, no home base, huge-ass change in any single element of your normal routine, etc.), but all are impossible to ignore and they have the power to screw us up real good.
One element hitting the fan affects everything else. So what do you do when you’re still standing, stupidly and heartbreakingly knee-deep in the wreckage of all your life factors? The best first step would be to step over the pile to some clear, carnage-free space. This will force you to admit what has just happened and that’s at least one rung completed on the upward trajectory you’ll have to annihilate before you can call yourself okay again.
Fear of whatever it is we’re all afraid of (success, failure, true love, heartbreak, happiness, disappointment) will make the next several rungs nearly impossible. And don’t ask me why we humans are all such wusses—we have opposable thumbs, we walk upright, and we’re on the top of every food chain ever (excepting, possibly, the one in Alien, and just the detritus from our advanced technology has the power to destroy an entire planet), because it’s a mystery to me, too. It probably has something to do with the fact that we think way too much, sometimes until we’re paralyzed balls of fear with too many imagined variations of future failure. I’m amazed we ever left the damn cave.
Mr. Cody McKibben, the t-crossing, i-dotting, perpetual motion machine of creative intelligence and entrepreneurship just watched his life go all to shit. He does not tend toward being a mushy, personal-revelations guy. But his brain never, ever stops. He just wrote an amazing article, How To Keep Kicking Ass When You Lose Your Girlfriend, Your Home, Your Business & Your Toenail, wherein he manages to break down and figure out what happened and why, and how he’s going to fix it and keep moving as excellently as he always does through life. Not sappy, not stale, and he nails his explanation of fear and its effects and how to get past immobilizing terror.
I haven’t been flipped helplessly onto my back like life’s beetle bitch for a while, but it has happened in the past. A few times, actually. It sucks. Worse than anything. Every time. And it always flays you, regardless of how many times it’s happened to you or how long you’ve spent in crash position, waiting for it to come along again. Next time life throws me down and kicks me in the head, I’ll reread McKibben’s post. Logic and a workable plan will save me.
Posted by Alexa Harrington