“That’s a pretty depressing and fatalistic post title, but I actually mean it in a positive and encouraging way. Let me explain.
It’s easy to go about your life, every day, feeling like everyone else has their shit together and that the things you struggle with are unique to you.
But then, when you get down to it, it turns out that everyone — every single person I know — is dealing with profoundly difficult and stressful things. Sometimes that’s money, sometimes it’s health, sometimes it’s work or family or relationships.
It’s worth remembering this so that we cultivate some empathy when dealing with people — in general and in particular in difficult situations.”
I just turned seven squared. I’ve now been on this planet for 50 years. In my “normative case”, I’ve got 30 good years left. I’m hopeful I live longer but I’ve also accepted that the lights could go out unexpectedly anytime.
Amy and I used the “30 more good years” as the frame of reference for a lot of our talks over the past month while we were on sabbatical off the grid. We’ve been fortunate to have amazing lives, but we’ve each had our share of really difficult things to deal with, separately and together. And we know we’ll have plenty of challenges and messy stuff to deal with for the rest of our lives.
I read several biographies on our trip. My two favorites were one on Einstein and one on Ada Lovelace. Amazing people, but messy lives with lots of challenges. As I read these biographies, I kept thinking about the timing they lived, the stuff they struggled with, and how the cycle of challenges for humanity continues on endlessly.
It’s easy to get lost in the morass of misery. You can also end up in the “things are good for the other person, but fucked up for me” cycle.
It’s all messy. And we eventually die and it’s over.
Nick’s remember that it’s “worth cultivat[ing] some empathy when dealing with people — in general and in particular in difficult situations” just nails it.
Go read Nick’s post everyone is broken and life is hard. And take a deep breath and remember Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.