Maybe You Can’t Turn It On A Dime, But It Can, I’m Positive, Be Turned
“Things usually work out in the end.”
“What if they don’t?”
“That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.”
-The Glass Castle
Okay. You know that feeling where nothing — and I mean nothing — seems to be going right in your life? Where, at every crossroads, it seems like your life has the opportunity to turn itself around, but Life just stares stupidly at the opportunity, maybe drools a little, and then continues down its slow, torturous path of destruction?
In case you didn’t know it, that’s been me for, oh… maybe the past year or so.
Job, relationship, family, you name it — it’s all linked because it’s all important to you, so if one starts to suffer, it seems inevitable that they all start to suffer. It’s the downhill snowball effect of ever-growing problems and ever-growing unhappiness, each layer compacting over itself, one after another, until it seems all too impossibly big.
To mix my metaphors, it’s like you’re this ship. This giant ship. And you see that iceberg ahead of you. It’s perfectly clear. In fact, you’ve probably been aware of that iceberg’s existence for quite some time — even aware that it’s much, much bigger than it appears on the surface.
But, my friends, seeing it has never been the problem.
The problem is — and always has been — that you can’t turn the Titanic on a dime.
The good news is that most of the time, it’s not too late. It’s difficult, but you can turn it. Sure, it’s slow enough to scare you. Sure, you might get a couple of scratches along the way. But usually — usually — it’s not enough to sink you.
Then, out of nowhere it seems, things start working again. Potential employers start contacting you. Your relationship feels good again. Your family is less annoying. This is known as the upswing. The take-a-deep-breath-of-this-clean-ocean-air-because-you-made-it-through-that-shitstorm upswing. Nothing but flat seas and clear skies ahead, for miles and miles.
And here’s where it gets tricky. Too many people don’t allow themselves to enjoy the upswing. They keep waiting for that next iceberg, like a behemoth like that could jump out and surprise them. And I’m definitely not here to tell you that it won’t.
But that’s the thing — it will. It might not surprise you — maybe you will see it coming — but most likely, it is coming. So why on earth would you waste your good time worrying about it?
If you’re constantly turning to avoid icebergs you can’t see — or worse, icebergs that aren’t even there — you’re going to use up all your fuel. And then you won’t be able to deal when there really is a problem. And worse, you’ll never enjoy the good times while you have them.
Are you pickin’ up what I’m dropping?
Have I worn this metaphor too far into the ground?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m on the upswing. Things turned for me yesterday. My rudder caught hold, slowed my momentum, and finally something good happened. More than one something. I was informed that my very first paid blog post for an online search engine is getting published sometime today. Then I had a job interview, and they called me back for a second interview before I even made it home. I literally had to turn around and go back. Then, a representative from a blog I greatly admire sent me an email asking whether the pictures I sent as part of a writing job application were really mine because they were just. that. awesome.
And now, even if I don’t get either job, a day like yesterday is just the thing I needed to assure me that the upswing is here.
There’s no way to know how long it will last, and frankly, I’m not going to waste time caring. I’m here to tell you that I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the fear of another looming iceberg ruin my high.
Have any of you gone through something similar? Do you manage to stay positive, even when your efforts seem futile? Do any of you know what I’m talking about?
Hey, yes! I’ve always thought that your photos are. Just. That. Awesome.
(Notice I turned that into four sentences, thereby implying that I think your photos are 25% awesomer.)
Why do I get the feeling you’re mocking me? Just let me be full of myself for a minute. I’ve earned it. ;)
That would be 33% awesomer.
Stupid rusty math.
Hmm… and I thought biochemical engineering rocket scientists turned high school science teachers were supposed to be smart…
Serves you right for mocking me. :)
I’m mocking the just. That. Awesome. Part.
But. Only. Because. I’ve. Used. The. Same. Technique. For.
Definitely not mocking the awesomeness of the actual photos, though. ;-)
Haha, yeah… I overuse that one. And italics. And dashes. But — you know — it’s. my. thang.
I can’t agree more…I’ve been one of those people that always “waiting for the next iceburg” forever but I’ve realized now that I just have to enjoy all the ups and the downs…..they make me who I am! And now I can enjoy the upswing, knowing that I can handle whatever life throws at me!
On a side note, I really enjoy your posts! Best of luck in the job market, hopefully someone realizes your talent!
Thanks, Sarah! It’s good to see someone enjoying life a little — I know too many people who spend way too much time dreading those inevitable down periods, and they never learn how to live it up while they can!
Fingers crossed on the job front… I want one and don’t want one, you know? But I guess we have to pay the bills somehow. ;)
Can you relay some of the upswing over to Kansas?
Self needs aside, LOVE hearing you’re on that climb. I feel like I’m crawling up my massive hill…but at least it’s upward movement.
The point is, you’re trying. It’s the people who cave to the feeling that it’ll never get better I worry about. But you? I don’t worry. :)
Thanks. I kinda needed something like that right now. It’s been a rough month. Not much of a fan of July.
Good thing July is almost over! Hopefully things will be on the upswing in August. Eight is my favorite number, so I’m thinking it will be a good one. :)
Well when it rains it pours, but it can’t rain forever. Glad things are lookin up for you.
Me too! And you’re absolutely right about that. Although sometimes it feels like it.
[…] *I started writing this topic weeks ago, yet coincidentally Katie decided to post something very similar today. Go check it out.* […]
I know what you’re talking about. July is my birthday month and this month and my birthday were awful but…
Things are looking up now. Before I was depressed and nearly suicidal, now I am much happier. My work was suffering but now people are interested. I couldn’t write but now I can so the book continues. I had no one and now I have two men vying for my attention (which still freaks me out but hey, two men!).
So I am glad that you are on the upswing too. I still have a ton of things to worry about but I am getting there and part of getting there is to just do what feels right at the moment even if once you do it, things still seem like they are going wrong. I think we too often take on responsibility for other people too so if something we do hurts them, we tend to think it’s the wrong thing even if it is the right thing for us to do for everyone concerned.
There’s a song called “Pennies from heaven”. And it has a lyric that says: “If you want the things you love, you must have showers.”
On a more philosophical level: pain and pleasure are privatives – they define each other by their existence – you cannot fully experience, appreciate or understand one without the other. And without pain how do you have empathy for other people? How do you care, really care? If life is bittersweet, I don’t think we should be fighting it so much but just go with it till we hit the upswing. :-D
I’m sorry you’ve been having such a rough time, chica. But I’m thrilled to hear you’re on the upswing as well! I have a feeling things are going to work out for you. ;) And I KNOW I have to finish your book!! I promise the reason I’m not done yet is not because I’m not loving it. (Was that enough “nots?” That’s like… a triple negative.) It is right near the tippy top of my list, I promise!!
I love this post, and feel exactly where you’re coming from. Additionally, the pic in this post is great!
Why thank you! I should’ve given credit for the picture, but I’m not sure where it came from originally. I found it on a site called weheartit.com. :)
Glad things are looking better for you. Hope it continues and your waters are always that of Spain or costa rica where no icebergs roam,
Wouldn’t that be nice? (Except, of course, for when I finally get to take my cruise to Antarctica. ;)
[…] Maybe You Can’t Turn It On A Dime, But It Can, I’m Positive, Be Turned […]
Beautiful, Katie…. and I’ve found myself becoming someone who is always looking for icebergs. Or worse, creating icebergs. This post is exacty what I needed to read :)
That makes me happy. :)
[…] while I try not to live life like one of those scared, timid people always waiting for the next iceberg, I expect them. And it doesn’t make them so bad when they clear the horizon. […]
[…] and Step 2. Step 1 is to make an “Eff Yeah” list for 2011. That’s easy. I survived depression, I went to Spain, I threw the best baby hot tub party ever, and I didn’t die. […]
[…] had ups and downs. I’ve struggled with depression. I’ve struggled with my relationship. I’ve thought things were going to turn around but they didn’t. Basically, I’ve run the gamut of human emotion just like the rest of you and I’ve felt […]
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