It happens to us all. In fact, the smaller things happen regularly: the hardware store doesn’t have something you bought there a month ago, doesn’t have plans to restock, and forces you to completely rework a big element on a major project (you saw this one in my last blog). You found bugs in the kitchen because it rained two hours after the pest control service came and washed away everything, and they didn’t bother to come back and redo it. You didn’t know the coworker had a cold, so you didn’t wash your hands after using the copier after them, and you get sick a week later. Those inconvenient truths interrupt the flow of our life on a daily basis. I once had somebody sum these up perfectly: life happens. Other times, it’s bigger: you break your foot walking upstairs, and have to deal with six weeks of people staring at you and asking “what happened!” while hobbling around in an orthopedic boot. Your publisher, who loved the paranormal elements in the last book you published have decided to get away from that theme and ask you to rewrite your current project to remove the paranormal elements, leaving you to decide whether it’s worth it to rewrite years’ worth of work, or to remain true to your theme and self publish. You don’t get the job, because your friend gave you a bad reference when a superior pressured them to provide a reference for their friend, and they decided that position trumps loyalty. These are a bit more shocking, and often require us to adjust and rethink life.
We often come out of these situations saying “I should have known better.” Maybe we should, but let’s be honest for a moment: it’s a big, complicated, scary world out there. We settle in our comfort zones because we need these habits to keep us sane. We need to feel like we understand the world we live in, and like we’ve adapted to it well. The problem is that reality is an ever changing thing, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Sometimes, we don’t see things because we’re overwhelmed trying to keep up. Other times, we’re so relieved at not having things “in our face” that we don’t want to be jerked out of that comfort zone and deal with things that we should be paying attention to.
The truth is that the world is never what we think. Things are always in motion, and there’s no way to keep up. Things change; people change; and it’s impossible to know what’s going on outside of your own head or life. There’s no way we’ll know all things, so sometimes these shake up’s will wake us up to surprises that we have to adjust to. And that’s alright. It’s nothing to feel bad about. Even people who have their crap together the best get these gut punches every so often, because nobody’s immune to it. It’s just another example of how we’re human beings living in an imperfect world.
Maybe you should have known better; or maybe you had no way of knowing until that surprise hit you in the face. Whatever the case, now you’re awake and your job is to figure out how to use this to make a better tomorrow.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.