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?