Every moment of chaos/uncertainty can be a moment of opportunity if you let it. Sometimes, things happen outside of your control when you’re riding the Struggle bus down Calamity Mountain and the bus goes haywire. I’ve got a recent story to illustrate my point.
On the road to Atlanta this weekend, it seemed like everything was going great. Making good time, about 40 miles out of Atlanta when the Struggle bus of life decided to make a sharp turn to Shitsville. As we’re riding down the interstate, steam/smoke starts billowing out and under the hood, vents and every opening my poor old car has.
My beloved, admired, and legendary 2002 Honda Civic has literally been to hell and back. That car and I have been on more adventures than one can fathom. Years worth of journeys, memories, and mistakes have been made with, in, on, and around that amazing vehicle.
On leaving, I always knew this was a possibility. She’s old, ancient by most people’s car standards these days. I’d been having this sneaky suspicion that something was getting ready to go wrong. It seems like all the vestiges of my old life have been crumbling around me to make way for something new.
As we limped into the gas station off I-75 near Cartersville, a tiny bit of panic starts to creep in. What the holy fuck do I do now? We’re still at least 40 miles out from our hotel. It’s after 2pm on a Saturday so all the car rental places are closed. Now’s the time to put on our crisis caps and get our shit together.
Most people would become reactionary, get angry. Why did this happen now and to me? Oh my God what am I going to do now? What if it’s really dead? How am I going to get home?
Protip from Ross: The first, best thing to do in an emergency is to take a step back and reevaluate your situation from the objective viewpoint. Here was mine: A) no one is hurt. B) we made it to a gas station with a Cracker Barrel next door. C) we’re close enough to Atlanta to get help from friends if possible D) if not there’s a hotel across the road. E) Technically we have a whole day before we really need to be there anyway so this is no time to get stressed.
If you can’t control it, there’s no reason to be upset by it. Sometimes, shit happens. That shit may or may not be reflective of you, your choices, or even possibly nothing at all.
For me, thankfully I’ve got great people around me. My illustrious, beautiful, and clever travel companion held her calm and assisted in any and every way possible. An incredibly good friend (Thanks Cam!) came through in the clutch to save the day literally and metaphorically.
The struggle bus could have fallen off calamity mountain. The trick is, it didn’t. It didn’t fall off the mountain because a positive or at least a not reactionary mindset. It could have gone so much worse, or I could have LET it affect me so much worse. I didn’t.
Be positive or at least be objective. Bad shit happens. Did this potentially terrible calamity effect my weekend? Not at all actually. I let it go, because the journey is really more important than the destination. Did it all work out in the end? I’m typing this sentence in my own with a rental car in the driveway. Is there anything I could have done to change it? Obviously not, BUT I can change how I think about it and how to deal with.
Bad shit is going to happen. Don’t let it get you down. Keep focused, keep pointing forward, and let go. We’re not gonna make it out alive anyway so at least enjoy the ride on your own personal struggle bus.
To those who know my poor car: She’s dead. I’m sorry. There’s no way to bring her back and quite frankly I’m happy she went down on a final journey to one of my most favorite cities. RIP Civic. Your 240,000 miles should be an inspiration to all the substandard cars available today.