As fallible and flawed human beings, we travel through different phases on this journey called life.
We experience highs and lows. Periods of great joy, success, and prosperity. Periods of despair, lessons, and poverty.
We often reference the circle of life, and if we visualize that circle like a wheel, we can envision it turning and turning. It keeps us moving from day to day, yet sometimes loses air and goes flat, rendering us helpless for a while, until we give it some air or patch it up so that we can keep on traveling.
Frank Sinatra depicted it well in the song, “That’s life.” He croons about us riding high in April, shot down in May. There is much truth in that.
When things are going right, it’s as if the universe heard our pleas and made every wish come true. Our work diligence, efforts, and dedication are rewarded. Our relationships seem harmonic, all of the chords and keys orchestrating beautifully. Our spirits are high, our moods jubilant, and our faith solid because we believe anything is possible. But like everything in life, it is temporary because getting knocked down is inevitable and none of us are exempt.
There are times when we fall so hard that we struggle to find anything that will help in pulling ourselves back up. Motivation and desire elude us and we find ourselves adrift in a state of indifference, not totally present or focused but conscious enough to go through the motions of each day. No matter how hard we try, we fail to achieve that healthy sense of well-being, while clinging to the faith that we will work our way back no matter how painstaking of a climb uphill. We want to give up—or we may have already.
Some of us don’t eat, exercise to an extreme, or rarely sleep. Some of us become gluttons, live like sloths, or rarely want to get out of bed. Each of us has our own way of dealing with life’s blows. There is no right or wrong—but there are certainly healthy and unhealthy, constructive and destructive means of managing it.
When we are stuck in the doldrums, we often set goals, timelines, and limits. Tomorrow we will start eating right, get more sleep, or be happier. Tomorrow we will forget the pain, stop living in the past, and get moving again.
We start reflecting upon resilience and faith, healing, and recovery. We don’t throw those words around lightly, but we do weigh them and decide how they apply to us. We may overthink and dwell, or ignore and deny.
For some of us, the more we try, the more we fail, which can result in what seems like endless disappointment and frustration. I can only speak for myself, but I’m typically at my best when I stop trying, stop thinking, and let my inner compass navigate the course.
It’s almost as if the effort I put forth and time I spend trying thwarts the process. When I remove that and just allow myself to be, things seem to fall into place seamlessly. In my case, overthinking and hyper-focus stunt my progress because I am the obstacle to what comes naturally to me—I get in my own way.
Each person’s journey back to happiness is unique, and quite often, you will find yourself back on the right road without warning. You’re lost, until you’re found. You can’t see through the fog until suddenly—it lifts.
You may have tried and tried, failed, given up, or found yourself fed up. Then one day you start moving again, just like that.
You wouldn’t sell the car because you had a flat tire. So don’t give up because you were knocked down for a while. Growth, healing, and progress take time, and there is no set deadline for when you’ll be repaired.
Breathe. Let yourself be.
Sometimes you have to drive along with that flat until you can find a place to pull over.
And when you do, you may not even be cognizant of just how long you’ve been on the side of the road. You’ll simply find yourself smiling because you were somehow able to fill that tire and, once again, resume traveling on your journey.