This applies good and bad. We’re going to start with “bad” though.
The dream story
When I was getting separated/divorced, I had the same dream probably five or six times in 20–25 days.
Here’s the layout of the dream:
My dog is currently (not in the dream, in current real life) about 2–3. That breed lives to be about 10. So let’s say my dog is alive for another 8 years.
This dream probably happens about 6–7 years from now.
In the dream I’m walking this older version of my dog, and my ex rolls up with her new person/husband/whatever … and a baby.
Now at the time this was all happening, I’m 35–36, I don’t have kids, most of my friends do, every time I log onto Facebook that’s all I see, etc.
I also had just read this New Yorker article about how you’re biologically meaningless if you hit 40 and don’t have a kid.
So I got all this life shit going on and I keep having this dream. It was a fucked up time, you know?
I told a few people and didn’t get much back in the way of guidance aside from “WHOA, OK.”
Finally one of my friends says this to me:
“Well that moment could theoretically happen. It’s not a reach at all. So who are YOU going to be in that moment?”
That one line — “Who are YOU going to be in that moment?” — changed a ton of thinking for me.
The moment AFTER the moment
Look, great things happen in life. You win stuff. You get promoted. People want to have sex with you.
Bad things also happen. Friends die. So do parents. You get fired. Divorces, etc. (I’ve got 3 of these 4 since 2015!)
Those are the moments. Those are when you feel and go through them. You do what you can. You get lifted up.
What matters is after the moment.
Funny example: my friend lost his virginity while studying abroad in France. He ran through a small town in France screaming about it after it happened. That is a true story.
That’s the moment AFTER the moment. You could argue he played it pretty poorly.
Serious example: after the above dream/conversation, I started trying to build community.
I still have a lot of flaws and things I need to work on (too many to list in a blog), but I am doing better.
It’s not about the moment. The moment is just what you need to get through.
The person you are is what happens AFTER the good and bad.
Phrased another way: you need to be thankful for the WHOLE journey, both the shit and the mountaintops. That WHOLE journey — the moments and the moments AFTER — is what shapes you.
“But my life is baller! Look at my Insta!”
Naw, son. Your life is largely curated bullshit derived from real emotional pain that needs to be filled. We all know the score. It’s just a question of how openly we admit it.
We all have shortcomings. Embrace ’em. Don’t downplay ’em. They’re there — why hide ’em?
It happens, and with the way salaries are going these days, it’s going to keep happening more. Eventually we’ll all be living and loving in Amarillo, you know? It’s all about to be about cost of living.
We all hurt, we all cry, we all go through shit. That’s life.
The bad makes the good better, and the bad makes you stronger.
But it’s never about the moment — we’re resilient, we get through the moment. Ironically, we often get through in the dumbest fucking ways possible, but we get through.
It’s about the next moment.
If your life is changed — your mom is deceased, you don’t have a wife anymore, you don’t have a job anymore, whatever the specific case may be — how are you now going to change?
You see this in sports all the time. We lost at the buzzer in the Conference Finals. So what’s next? You work hard and win it all the next year? That’s the hope. But that all begins with the moment AFTER the moment.
The next step is the step that matters.