Do you ever feel like sometimes life is a joke? You know, those moments when everything seems to go the wrong way and you start wondering if it’s because of something you’ve done, or if it’s just that your karma is in a bad mood. Everyone’s life can be tough, not all the time, not every second of the day, but it happens. At this precise moment, whenever you’re reading this, you might be in the happiest state of mind or you might be so down you might only want to roll in bed and stay there for the rest of your life. As for me, I’m sitting on a couch with a broken wrist trying to type on my computer with one hand, while the guys-next-door are having a blast on a Thursday night. I’m telling you, life is mocking me.
As much as I want to put my broken wrist on bad luck and karma, I had some part of responsibilities. We do love to put the fault on someone else because as human beings it isn’t possible to admit that you might’ve played your bad part. Ah, humans and their egos… The thing is it’s all about finding the right balance between external factors, and your role in what’s happening to you. I shouldn’t have skied that fast. I should have anticipated the shift of the snow. I shouldn’t have smoked that cigarette that made me feel dizzy. I can remake the world with “if” but in those situations you can’t really help it, can you? Sure, you have a brain, you make sane – or not – decisions, so technically whatever bullshit comes up to your face would be your own fault.
Then you might wonder “what do you do when this happens?” I might not give the best advice, but here’s what I would do: I would fight back and keep going no matter the pain – as long as it’s bearable, I’m no masochist. Since you’re taking risks, you might be doing something right. I’m not talking only about physical risk, but financial, psychologic, the kind of risk that needs twice much thinking before jumping.
No human being can pursue a monotone life; we all need that adrenaline up in our veins. Think about it, doing the same boring routine every day isn’t really your dream life. You can find various ways to get the thrill, smoke a joint, do sports, change job, give up your studies, whatever works. However, as soon as you lose the thrill, you’ll start to get bored again, meaning it’s time to find something else to keep your mind busy, to avoid the boredom of your day-to-day life. Look at those who do triathlons, who jump in paragliding, who climb the Everest, they are driven by adrenaline, and the desire to always push their limits. Like a drug. You can never get enough of it. It’s like giving a candy to a kid, he will end up asking for the whole box of sweets.
Why do we always want more? When is it time to say ‘stop’? If you’re stubborn – like me – I guess only your conscience can tell you to stop. After breaking two vertebras in my back, one in my left shoulder, and recently had surgery on my right wrist all while I was skiing, I suppose any reasonable person would at least slow it down, or even try another sport, less dangerous. The issue is that when you like something so much, you’re willing to endure any injury just to feel the adrenaline and joy again. You don’t care about how much money you’re spending on equipment, how much of your time it takes, how dangerous it can be. It is stubborn and insane, but that’s how the human brain works. It’s like saying to a drug addict to stop taking his usual medication – note to self, stop watching Dr House, it makes you see drug-addicts everywhere.
Shit happens. Every day and to everyone, when you least expect it. The real question is whether or not you’re willing to cope with it. You can easily become a quitter – because you’re not born quitter, you become one over the years. I’m not saying that you always have to fight back; in some circumstances there is nothing left to do but stop fighting, yet it’s not quitting, it’s admitting defeat.
Shit happens to the luckiest, to those who don’t deserve it, to those who deserved it, to all of us. What makes the difference between every one of us is the way of handling it. Life is made of obstacles, from breaking a leg to quitting your job at 35 to work in a shitty restaurant up in the mountains. It’s about choices, you can choose to see the negative in everything that happens to you; you can choose to let all these little things become a wall too high to even climb, or you have the option of building stairs instead. As Chinese spirituality would call it the Yin and the Yang, the good and the bad. So, on which side are you going to stand?
There will be times when you can’t do anything about what’s happening to you and all you’ll be free to do is laugh about it, have some self-derision, take a step back, think wisely. Nothing is constant, as Heraclitus affirmed change is the only constant in life. Because you might feel like shit today it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll feel the same the day after. Even if you’re at your lowest, get up and if you fall again, start again until you’re stronger.