WRITTEN BY MISCHAELA RICHTER

Staying the course

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.

— PROVERB

After 33 years of living and loving and dreams and disappointments, I’ve started to recognize some cycles. Patterns emerge that continue to play out in the same sequence every time. One pattern that I’ve come to find comforting is this: right when things get really bad, when you’re up against the wall and you don’t think you can take anymore, suddenly things start to get better. I’m not talking about mild inertia, a dull sense of discomfort or disappointment. I’m talking about that moment when you’re looking up at the sky going ‘SERIOUSLY?!?’ When Murphy’s Law is in full effect and it’s all falling apart and you can’t imagine a way out of this chaotic mess you find yourself in.

It could be that a relationship has imploded in epic fashion and it feels like your heart is going to rip out of your chest. Maybe your job is sucking the very soul out of you and you’re fighting to quell the anxiety that rises each day as you travel to work. Or perhaps just a long stretch of wasted time where day after day you half-heartedly try to motivate yourself into some kind of positive action until you’re so disgusted with where you’re at and who you’ve become that you distract yourself from these thoughts with substances and relationships and surface things until it all blows up in your face and you have NO CHOICE but to make change or you’ll just DIE.

If you find yourself in this place, than rejoice! It’s all uphill from here baby.

Circumstances will change, either by your own actions or actions unseen. Maybe self-preservation kicks in and the magnitude of your crisis finally propels you into positive action. Or a seemingly shitty circumstance unexpectedly turns around. One thing is for sure, the storm always passes.

My friend is a small business owner who is just making ends meet. She recently paid off her car and was pumped to finally have some extra cash flow. One month later she totals the paid off  car. Her is a crucial part of her job so of course dejection and misery ensue. But THEN insurance paid out more than expected! She was able to buy a car that was far more suitable to her work and lifestyle AND have some left to pay down other debt. What started out as a calamity was a blessing in disguise.

A more extreme example is the life of the comedian Tig Notaro. In the span of mere months she got a flesh eating disease, her mother died, she went through a breakup and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Clearly this is enough to knock any one of us off our feet. Instead of just throwing in the towel, she performed a brutally honest and beautifully funny stand up comedy special about it all. She received a standing ovation and her career skyrocketed, with several documentaries created about her life, a book deal and a new relationship.

Any bad situation can turn around. The relationship ends, you find a better one. You quit the job you hate and find a better one. You hate the way you live your life so you start living a better one. I’ve seen this happen so many times in my own life and others. It’s to the point now that when I find myself in that pit of despair a little voice inside me whispers ‘yessssss’ because I KNOW better days are just around the corner.

Stay the course, lean into the discomfort and know that nothing lasts forever. Trust that you have what it takes to make it through. You are strong, you are courageous and you are resilient!

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