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Warning: naughty language ahead!
Hard times are not made easier by trying to rush through them.
Frankly, hard times are like debt collectors—if you skip out on the lesson they will bug you or come kill you (metaphorically speaking).
I’m convinced that the laws of nature and happiness are being programmed by some overlord—let’s call him Barry—who goes to work every day at “The Universe.”
I’m not quite sure who made Barry the angel the head “happiness programmer,” but I do know that he wrote into the code: “Must go through hard times and grow in character to be happy.” Then he sent some humans down to copy that code into various religious texts—the most recognizable version being: “Die on the cross; be born again.”
They don’t call life transitions crossroads for nothing. I usually just call them, “Shit, fuck, shit, not again!” Then comes therapy, hookups, more therapy, regretful social media posts, and three days of listening to motivational speeches. I also often end up rereading my own book Breakup Rehab (because yeah, it’s that good).
Even if life worked out exactly to plan—just fuckin’ perfect—and the only transition we had to go through was aging, that would still be a lot to reconcile.
We begin as crippled organisms totally dependent on a mediocre caregiver. We can’t talk. We shit ourselves. And in a few short years, after sucking on a woman’s boob or chugging some simulated milk product, we learn to walk. But, make no mistake, expectations are piled on all of us the minute the two lines appear on the pregnancy test.
Those expectations then become the litmus tests of our lives. And Barry is just waiting up there, behind his global monitor, for one of us dumbass humans to “want to be happy.” That’s when the shitstorm rains down from “The Universe.”
“Oh look, Swahttii in Brooklyn just wants a boyfriend to make her happy. Let’s assign her eight years of serial monogamy and one sexual assault. Then she can partner with individuals sent to earth to do ‘healing work.’ She will then attribute this healing work to her shift in perspective and look back on those eight years as silver-lining lessons. She will study that Law of Attraction shit and mistake her happiness as alignment.”
All the while, Barry is up in heaven marveling at how well his code works. Of course, because Barry is a maniacal angel, he has also programmed happiness as temporary.
This is where Barry’s more benevolent counterpart—let’s call her Melissa—comes in and does the programming for “grace in hard times.” She activates this in us humans right at the moment we are about to give up.
Hard times are when our expectations don’t share the same potency as reality. We humans call this disappointment—and we rarely handle it with grace. Some of us get pretty angry about it. Others throw tantrums. Others resign themselves to misery. And a handful just manage chaos with one phrase: “Fuck it.”
Hard times are ugly. They’re messy. But they’re also a function of living.
So how do we crack the code? How do we get through hard times gracefully?
First off, expect hard times. Don’t be one of us who’s like, “Why is this happening to me?” No. You gotta think, “This is happening for me—Barry, you old devil!”
The next step is tapping into grace. That’s the program that reads: “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”
Then pause. Do not take action when hard times hit. Instead, assess the situation and reflect on the choices that landed you at your own personal crossroads—yep, the one that you are now nailed to.
Think back on what you asked for.
What dreams keep tugging on you?
What spontaneous action wants to possess your body and mind?
What promise did you make that is yet to be kept?
Years of your life will be spent failing and passing tests, and suffering losses, but on the day the codes of creation send life coursing through your veins, happiness will be there too. So say “yes” and commit fully to whatever calls to you.
How do you gracefully go through hard times? You master the code and get in good with the angels.