About 2 years ago, i was crushin’ it. I had 15 months of sobriety, was sticking to a hiking program and planning for a through hike, had quit smoking for 5 months had paid off most of my debt, bought a house, and had my creative ventures in order and thriving. I made it to one year of being purposely single, had a couple thousand in savings, and had lost 15 pounds. It was a lot. It was a heady experience, and not the first time i’ve been in similar situations.
Then in May of 2020, things started going a very different way. The pandemic was upon us. I was getting very discouraged about my aging and had suffered through a few rejections from men ( nothing serious but they added to my decreasing self esteem). A venue i had had for creative endeavors fell flat on its face due to a miscommunication and the collateral damage from that. I started smoking again, stopped hiking, started eating unhealthy, and started a new relationship in which my new partner ( although a fantastic person and a great match , even now) was a drinker, so naturally i started testing the “moderation” waters again. I was still paying my bills but savings dwindled as my new home required some updates and repairs. I was not riding that wonderful wave anymore. This lasted for about 6 months and i realized where it was headed. Once again i dived into fixing everything.
Then 2 months later i landed in the hospital with stress related heart issues. Once again, my world turned upside down as i struggled to regain balance – financially, health-wise and mentally. My depression , which had been mild to moderate for about 9 months, took a steep dive in severity.I struggled for 4 more months until i finally got my head above water and since June of this year, have been doing well in all areas.
I am at the gym 4-5 days a week and making great gains. I just got a newer car, upgraded an 8 year old cell phone, and am refinancing my house to save some money over the long haul.I have paid off several credit cards and made some home updates and repairs. My relationship is excellent and i couldn’t be happier. I rarely drink because i have better things to do and when i do, i am harshly reminded that it puts a damper on any progress i have made or want to make ( i.e. a hangover can make me not feel like getting to the gym, just going to work seems daunting, and i lose all motivation to create art and this can last up to 3 days.- That’s # days of LOST TIME and progress!)
I still do dreaded chores and errands. I still pay bills. I still sometimes lose sleep. I am sore, I am tired. But i keep going.
My point is that life has its ups and downs. As Forrest Gump’s unintentional motto says- “Shit Happens”. And when it does, it is not how you handle it at the moment, it’s how you look ahead to prevent as much of it from happening again in the future that matters. Use it to learn from. For example:
Because of the hospitalization, i added about 5 waiver plans to my health insurance- including disability insurance. This way, at least i will get 80% of my wages if i am off work for any medical reasons.
Because i struggled to meet mortgage payments for a few months, i decided getting out of an FHA loan and into a conventional was not only feasible but smart. i will save about 120/mo with a better interest rate and when i go to refi in the future i have even better rates and options to choose from.
Because my health came into sharp focus from the hospitalization, i committed more fully to lifting weights- something i enjoy much more than hiking, and so, more likely to continue. Seeing visual progress is a huge motivator, and i just wasn’t seeing much from walking and yoga, personally.The side benefit is feeling better about my appearance, and less depression/anxiety!
My phone had been on the decline for awhile. Ironically, one of those times i was drinking, something spilled on it and made the buttons start sticking so bad i knew an upgrade was imminent. With my upgrade, i have more options -i can download helpful apps, not worry about discharging all the time from an old battery, and this time i added a protection plan in case of damage for only $8 extra /month with a $75 deductible- well worth it.
Things happen for a reason.And in hind sight, all of the those things led me to a better place- eventually. Had i given in to despair, or accepted that i would never get my life in order again- i would be worse off than ever before.But i kept grinding away, day after boring, depressing day- because that’s what it takes.
You won’t always be “crushin’ it”.And indeed you may feel like you’re just being crushed instead. But keep going.
If you aren’t seeing results- keep going.
If you are frustrated and depressed- keep going.
If you are exhausted- keep going.
When everything seems to be falling apart- keep going.
Don’t stop. The sun will shine again. The clouds will come again. But strength is developed through how we handle our adversity.Trust in the process!