One thing I learned at hospital many years ago, and after I got out, is that you can’t win by waiting for the perfect solution to come up before you act.
You have to act, step by step, to do something that works. In other words: If you feel like 90 per cent crap and you go do the dishes because that is all you can muster the energy to do, then that is better than sitting and trying to think of the perfect solution.
What to do to heal all your wounds, use all your time for the best, etc.
Think about that before you act, and you can think a long time.
While I have a normal life – not a life on some mountain peak somewhere – on a mountain made of money – then I can actually talk about how to deal with stuff that most people deal with:
Debt and money.
Kids and family.
Ideals and career.
And much more.
That’s what I blog about. That’s what I want to talk about also, while I do The Lines, and find inspiration in those historical persons, whom I draw.
And share that.
That’s from a guy who is in it – not someone who ‘transcended scarcity long ago’. That’s advice about how to keep it together and keep up hope While You Are In It.
That is leading from the front.
A friend of mine who was admitted to the psychiatric ward at much the same time as I, is a pensioner today. He does not have a strong purpose.
His ‘purpose’ if it even exists in any meaningful form, is mostly about surviving and getting by. More concretely it is about being safe, and about doing stuff he enjoys like reading or watching television.
Of course his case is more complicated than that brief glimpse, but it does make one wonder, doesn’t it?
I mean, my friend and I went through the same ordeal more or less at the same time.
We had very similar symptoms of anxiety and depression, strong enough for us to be admitted to hospital. Me in 2005. Him in 2006.
Today one of us is still in there. In a kind of hospital.
Reality is merciless here. If your nervous system can’t take the way you live, it will break down again, even if you think that you ought to do fine, or that you are fine.
But there is a lot more to it than these stray thoughts, of course.
And it is a difficult and hard road ahead.
Still, there is hope. As I know from my own journey, even if my experiences – or that of many others – can’t be totally transplanted to this situation.
These past weeks, as I understand H, has been about putting out the big blaze. Now the real reconstruction work starts.
But it is a very simple kind of work in its essence.
They need help. And professional help. And it has to come from family and private funds.
And everybody needs patience and courage and needs to acknowledge, each in their own way and time, that the healing process will not lead back to the old life.
It will lead to something new, which – frightening as it may seem now – is actually the best. For example a more flexible and realistic and loving and communicative attitude towards … everything.
That’s a tall order.
For old and frail people like H’s parents.
But it need not be perfectly like that.
There just needs to be a movement – towards change.
That will give hope.
Family time is, after all, your most important asset in life, perhaps more important than money – at least in many situations.
I wish I could explain it better than a mere decision, but there it is.
It is, however, a decision matured. It has matured for a long time and it has to do with a realization of the futility of trying to sell out your present to insure your happiness in the future, so to speak.
Just as profound as the realization I had in 2006 which cured me of the deep and devastating anxiety that had gotten me into hospital: If I could never get better there was no point in hating and berating myself for certain thought and other matters, only in trying to make as much good time as possible to enjoy – during the minutes and hours I was not suffering.
Deep realizations followed up by definitive, all-encompassing action.
So I guess I have explained it better now, right?
Perhaps. But have I explained it enough for someone else to realize what they have to do to copy it?
Probably not in most cases. Besides, it is a state of mind that comes about not as a result of reading but as a result of experiencing, for a long time. Then a desire for change is cultivated in the soul.
But if I can aid that change, however little, I shall be satisfied.
It is logical to dream. More than that. It is necessary.
In some ways as necessary as eating or breathing.
I know these are big words, but just think: What is your life worth if you constantly restrain yourself from dreaming ‘too much’ – imagining the good stuff you want to experience, to have, to think, to realize? What’s it worth?
Your life becomes mediocre – no, worse: A shell.
Don’t go that way. Turn right now – and start dreaming more.
So I suppose, after all that has gone before on this gig, I should feel bad that I did not slam the door, or had the courage change myself enough to slam that door earlier in our ‘cooperation’. I mean, I should feel humiliated, shouldn’t I?
But, honestly, I just feel kind of …’whatever’.
Perhaps that is a sign I already have the courage. It doesn’t matter that he acted first.
I admit it: I am a self-keep-a-down-holic.
I have hurt more people by not exploiting my full potential and changing the world and earning more money to share than I have by keeping myself down.
I will have to have the courage to look at that statement every day from now on and really feel how much it hurts. Only then, I feel, can I begin to see – deep deep down – that what I have been doing so far has been wrong and has not worked.
I have saved no one, not even myself.
If there is a power in admitting the truth, I so badly want to feel it now.
Sometimes you have to insist of a certain treatment in the medical system, not just bow to authority. They will often bow to you, then.
It’s one of those days where you just have to believe that the right principles will get you to the right place.
I suppose that’s an interesting thought:
What if the key is here to learn to tolerate more of my clients’ complaints?
And do things in a pace that will keep me sane and then see if he actually puts his money where his mouth is?
And that place would be with someone who is cheaper, better, more reliable than me, about whom he has to complain so much to get an honest day’s work done, right?
Interesting thought. And perhaps a worthwhile thought for an entrepreneur.
Especially worthwhile if I can honestly say that I am doing my best and that 75 percent of the delays and problems come from my clients’ bad habits, bad planning, lack of knowledge, and lack of will to pay a realistic number of hours.
Maybe the truth is only 50 percent. But why should I take those 50 percent on my shoulders and stress to do better and better, more and more, for less and less pay? I think I can afford to err a little bit on the other side here.
I’ll experiment with my prices and some things I won’t do, some things I will. Other things I will regret doing for that price, and still other things I would like to repeat – like my historical talks:350 bucks for 2 hours of enjoyable work – let me have more of that!
But aside from food and shelter for ourselves and our son, I bloody won’t be constrained by having to chase a certain kind of client with a certain size of wallet, not because I’m more interested in them or a better match with my skills.
But because they are able to pay my rent for an apartment with three extra rooms I don’t use.
Perhaps I just had to find the courage to choose Something, not wait for the right choice to show up?
Yeah, that’s it. The courage mobilization vaporized enough of the fear. Then I could see more of what I really felt. And actually make a decision that – lo and behold – maybe close to what I need to do to feel Okay.
Strange. But worth remembering. Because Big Doubt will happen again.
But so will courage.