Life is hard.
I can say that with utmost clarity. Startups are challenging, yes, let that go on the record. And relationships take work and money can be difficult to manage and probably all of those platitudes are true.
But when you strip all of that away, when it’s just you and the people you love and you are facing uncertainty in matters of life and death — true, end-of-life death — and it just breaks your heart to play out any of the possible scenarios ahead, well, those are the moments that make you want to break a stack of plates. And then maybe jump out of an airplane from 10,000 feet. And then tell the next guy in a hoodie who is “crushing it” to just shut the f up.
I know where my drive comes from, that thing that keeps me hustling seven days a week, 28.4 years and counting. I know why my brain can’t turn off and my fingers itch to make something tangible and my heart insists on feeling in technicolor despite all of the scolding its heard to toughen up over the years: because those moments that string together one after another, those seconds that in aggregate make up a “life,” those minuscule microcosms of happiness and fear and love and heartache bleed one into another and then? Then they flame out.
And here’s the truth: you get two choices. The thing itself is going to happen no matter which you choose — that much is guaranteed. You can’t stop it. Sorry. The end has already been written. No, your choice is only in how you are going to experience that inescapable thing, because simultaneously the seconds are interminably long and the hours just evaporate like a whisper.
So you can sit in it, endure it, soak up the wrenchingness of it – and therefore be in it so that when it’s over you have it as a chapter in your life that you can honor as something real. Or you can deftly move through it and deflect the sharp corners by bending the curvature of your bubble — perpetual motion can do that to space, didn’t you ever learn the physics of emotional crises? — and make to the other side nearly unscathed, with hardly a memory of the trauma to be found.
Which is better? I can’t be sure. I have always chosen the former and have the scar tissue to stand witness. But this much I’ve learned: the lion’s den stands waiting whether you’re ready or not.