Do you ever think you are swimming against the tide? Do you ever feel like you are making great progress in your life, only for a rip current to come and suddenly pull you under?
No matter what you do, doesn’t it always seem that life comes up with some cunning plan to make your life a little more odious and a little more difficult? A new tax, a difficult employee, a divorce, a health crisis? Brexit? :)
I think what we forget is how easy life actually is now compared to the history of our species. It wasn’t that long ago where a simple infection could kill you, and where the average life was a misery interspersed with brief flashes of vague, drunken happiness…if you were lucky. We forget the trauma of working in the fields, or down the coal mine. We have forgotten the days before indoor plumbing and electricity, before antibiotics and the combustion engine.
Life used to be much harder than it is now. Compared to our ancestors, most of us have it easy, and yet so many of us live in a constant well of depression. Even a homeless person on the street can get access to lifesaving health care that wouldn’t have been available to the wealthiest individual a hundred years ago.
And we invented whole stories to help us deal with all these horrors. We developed multiple religions and belief systems to try and explain why life was so difficult. But as technology makes life easier, many of us have found those beliefs are no longer needed. But still, the suffering continues.
You live your life, doing the best you can… and then the tide hits. That’s going to happen, it’s inevitable. You can’t avoid it, you can’t reason with it. Tragedy and calamity will strike your life just as it does to everyone else. And you can let yourself be pulled down under the water and submit, or you can fight.
“What matters most is how you walk through the fire,” – Charles Bukowski.
Some of how you deal with this comes from how you prepare. That’s why you buy insurance, why you create trusted networks and why you write contemporaneous clinical notes. Most people who get pulled under, often they feel they are engulfed by things they could never have predicted. But a lot of time, the warnings were there, the pattern of history often foretelling what is to come. We overstretch our businesses and our lives, often focusing on the wrong thing. Some people go on the hunt for the almighty £ whilst neglecting their families. Others get wrapped up in their passion and let their health suffer. Some of us, well some of us do everything we think we can and the shit still comes hurtling towards us.
Now, this might sound depressing and soul-crushing, until you think about it. Acceptance and planning are two of your greatest weapons we can use against the inevitable suffering that enters our lives. Even the best of us and the happiest of us suffer. And the only thing you can do is accept that and do what you can to make things just that little bit better. Because when you do the best you can, you can make the good things better. Sometimes, you can even reach the dizzying heights of ecstasy.
I encourage you to spend the next 8 minutes watching this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLvd_ZbX1w0