“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S Thompson
Over these last couple of weeks for a number of clients and friends it’s been…well…. lets just say… a little bit crazy.
There is no doubt, in the words of Hunter S Thompson, they are well and truly “skidding in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out”. Although at the moment they are not quite at the stage of shouting “Wow! What a ride!” but rather feeling stuck in the midst of the roller coaster riding shit storm, not knowing which way is up, down, left, right or any direction at all.
Life and work is not always, and perhaps never is, full of endless unicorns and rainbows. Whilst we are regularly told (and most likely know) that we have to ‘dig deep’, to ‘find the grit and resilience’ to keep going and that 'once we get to the other side we will become stronger and have so many learnings' the reality is that when you are stuck well and truly in depths of yucky stuff life can feel crappy, horrible, rough, crazy (permission to insert as many words as you see fit).
When working with clients, I witness many navigating the multiple demands of home and work, of Plan A not quite eventuating as it should, of the pivoting emotional ride of incredible highs and insane lows. And every single one of us, on a daily basis, is trying to master the art of juggling the increasing demands on time in this 21st century world of busyness in which we now live.
And I've been reflecting this weekend on just how hard we can be on ourselves in terms of what we are ‘supposed’ to achieve.
A clean house. Perfectly behaved children. The ideal relationship. And all this whilst being a business Wonder Woman or Superman.
Sorry, but that just doesn’t fly with me.
My house is generally speaking, a bit – well, untidy. As the working week goes on – and to be quite frank, as most people with their own businesses or trying to scale the corporate ladder would know, the working week is 7 days – it gets messier.
I have a washing pile that is a close imitation of Mount Vesuvius just before it took out Pompeii. Last week, I cheerfully admit to forgetting to give my children their school lunches, resorting to handing them cash to hit the school canteen instead and there were far too many evenings thanking Ubereats for keeping me sane because the fridge looked like it had been been the victim of a major food heist. And on Friday night, my kids and my husband copped a very loud stream of ‘not happy’ as something work-related went pearshaped.
And that’s just home stuff. As for work…
The sad thing is, that this is all, when it comes down to it, fairly trivial stuff. But the pressure to be the best of the best in every area of our lives is something that we, as individuals in the 21st century, can’t seem to shake.
This needs to stop because nobody is Wonder Woman or Superman.
No-one has the perfect life, every day, 24/7, 365 days a year.
We all have those ‘shit has hit the fan’ moments – those moments of going round and round in circles trying to find the safest exit route out of Crazytown.
We have to start embracing our perceived ‘weaknesses’ and realise that being vulnerable, and human, is not a bad thing. Asking for help, reaching out for a sounding board, being able to offload and say ‘this is nuts’ is OK. It doesn’t make you less of a person. It makes you real.
I am happy to say ‘my house is untidy’. Because is it impacting on my happiness? Is it impacting on my children’s ability to enjoy life? When it comes down to it, will my partner care?
If I am not worrying about appearing as the perfect woman, then I am not stressed. If I am not constantly cross, and worrying about what others think of me I am more relaxed, and fun, and connected to what is going on around me. I am more able to deal with work challenges (which are also not the end of the world – even though they might feel like it at the time!).
We need to support each other and work together to reinforce how amazing we individually are.
We need to reach out and be prepared to stop doing what we are doing to help someone out.
We need to dig deep, to truly care and help others find the easiest and smartest road out of Crazytown.
We need to realise we are all human and know that at the end of the day everyone is entitled to be a bit out of control. That’s real life – so choose that. Not an unrealistic fantasy.
Now, where did I put my superhero cape because I need it to get through today… ha!