“If you fast-forward through the bad times, you’ll also miss the good times.”
How many times have you wished that you could hit the fast-forward button in your life? I mean, think back to your childhood. You thought that if you skipped an entire week in your Christmas Advent calendar, Christmas would arrive quicker…or, maybe that was just me? Maybe you are just dreading your week at work and want to fast-forward to Friday. Remember the movie Click with Adam Sandler where he hits the fast-forward button through the fight with his wife and all the other “hard” parts of his life? I think many of us can relate. We have all wanted to hit fast-forward in our lives at some point, especially when pain is involved, who wants to sit and fester in that?
Unless we have that magic remote control from Click, we don’t have the luxury of hitting that fast-forward button, we actually have to figure out how to get through it. Wait though, is it really a luxury to fast-forward out of the pain and the hard times? In the movie, Adam Sandler realized that while he was skipping over all of those “hard” parts of his life, he was also skipping the good. It sucks to admit, but you don’t get to experience the good without the $h!t that accompanies life. Our journey is full of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, love and loss. You can’t have the good without the bad. We need to do our best to work through the bad and learn from it so we can endure then overcome. If all that sounded too fluffy and self-helpy for you and you need to stop reading today, I totally get it; remember I’ve thrown a self-help book or two in my time, so power down if you must and come back later.
During my reintroduction into self-help support blogs and books, I remember seeing an image that ended up being burned into my brain of a woman in a tunnel walking towards the light. At that moment, I felt like it was me in that tunnel, trapped in the daily pain of my divorce and I wanted to fast-forward to get to the other end where the light was, but it seemed impossible. It felt like I would take one step towards the light, but then something else crappy would happen and I would take two steps back. At first, I wasn’t able to see the light at all and once it became visible, it just seemed so far away. But something deep inside kept telling me that the only way out was through the tunnel.
Although we really want to, if we all just fast-forwarded through the hard times, what would we actually learn? It’s these difficult times that are teaching us something. They suck and they are hard. The natural reaction most of us have is flight, just run away…fast-forward.
This is a pretty intense analogy, but here it goes: A drug addict who has decided to get clean and go to rehab almost certainly wants to hit the fast-forward button. I have never experienced detoxing, but I have seen enough movies and have had friends go through it to have some understanding. You experience nausea, shakes, sweats, anxiety, vomiting, insomnia and the list goes on. Who wouldn’t want to fast-forward through that? But, if it wasn’t so intense and so awful and so miserable that it burned that experience into their brain, isn’t there a higher likelihood of someone going back to drugs? If they didn’t remember the detox experience, the discomfort and pain….it might be more appealing to start using again. There is no fast-forward button to fix them. They went through the experience to get through to the other side, to get clean and hopefully stay that way.
On a personal note and something I can relate to is my running. There are days when I have a 10 mile training run planned and I am dreading getting out of bed and putting my shoes on. In mile one I’m already thinking I wish I could fast-forward to mile 10 and be back home with my shoes off, sipping my coffee and eating a donut. However, I have to get that 10 mile run in if I hope to do 26.2, I can’t fast-forward or just skip those runs or my muscles won’t get stronger and I will not have the strength to finish that marathon. When training for a marathon you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. You have to get through it, as some would say, “no pain, no gain.”
Can’t we compare both of those scenarios to our lives? The deaths, the breakups, the losses, the [fill in the blank] that hurt us. It’s that pain that will make us stronger as we get through it. It sucks, sucks, sucks at times, I know…but, unfortunately, it’s a part of life. It’s never all up and never all down, there’s a mixture, and a roller coaster of emotions. When there is good, enjoy it, embrace it, because no matter how great it is, there will eventually be a down you will need to get through.
Take a minute to think of some strong people that you know, like Janine Shepherd in my second blog or people in your own lives who have struggled, gone through heartache, loss, and pain. The strongest people we know have not been given an easy life on a silver platter, they have learned to create happiness and strength by embracing the hard times, they grow and becoming stronger because of those difficult times. They have walked through their tunnel to get to the other side.
The way out of your pain is always through, and you will get through it. Don’t be afraid of feeling the pain as you are going through it, the pain is going to change you, it’s going to make you stronger. The reality is that life is going to be sucky at times, but we will get through it one day at a time. Once you get through this tunnel there will likely be another that you will have to conquer but, because you got through this doozy of a tunnel, hopefully you will remember what helped you and what didn’t, so you can get through those dark tunnels quicker in the future, maybe even skipping and whistling at times.
It’s going to take time and we will all get there at our own pace. During some of your days, you might be standing still and not taking any steps forward or backward. On those days, take a moment to look around you, take in what you see and try to be grateful for those things at that moment rather than looking ahead to that light that seems so far away. You can take a step forward tomorrow.
It’s long, it’s dark, it’s scary and some days it seems impossible…but you can do it, we can do it. You aren’t alone.
Remember, You Got This!