What Would You Do If You Stopped Waiting For It to Get Better?
Life may never get easier. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it
One thing that continues to amaze me as I get older is just how hard life is.
Make no mistake: I say this as an immensely privileged person. But despite that, it can feel that adulthood is just an endless game of whack-a-mole. As soon as you extinguish one crisis — a professional mess, a health scare, a relationship problem, financial woes—another one seems to pop up in its place. It’s like a rotating cast of challenges designed to keep you on your toes, until your toes become weak and brittle and you want to fall over.
This, I admit, is not a very hopeful way to view life. However, I’ve come round to the idea that life can’t be characterized by one feeling or set of experiences — good or bad. Instead, life is all the things, all at once. So when you’re in the shit—be it physical, emotional, financial, logistical—the task is not to wait for it to end and hope things get better so you can finally enjoy the easy part. There is no easy part. Instead, the task is to make sure that amidst all the hard stuff, you’re finding room for the good stuff too, whatever that may be.
Because when you begin to accept that life, generally speaking, is quite hard a lot of the time, it starts to seem pretty risky to wait for things to get better to enjoy life itself. To wait until you’ve lost the baby weight to feel good enough in your body to go swimming. To wait until your house is perfectly renovated to invite people over. To wait until you get pregnant to feel like your family is full and you are loved. To wait until you’re perfectly healed from an illness to start the hobby you’ve been dreaming of. To wait until you’ve found your perfect partner to feel worthy of love and the life you dream of. To wait until you’ve gotten to the end of your monstrous to-do list to take a rest. If you’re waiting for all that to happen, I hate to tell you, you might be waiting a very long time.
It’s important to note that giving up on waiting for things to get better is not the same thing as assuming that things will never get better. In fact, in my experience, no matter what you’re going through, the refrain “it won’t always be like this” almost…