I recently read that “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” True, this sounds like something that should be featured on an inspirational poster in Dunder Mifflin’s breakroom, or perhaps inside a card whose front image features a color-tinted vintage photo of a little kid dressed up like an adult. But after you get past the trite tone, I do have to admit that this quotation has stuck with me.
Frequently, I get stuck in the mindset of feeling like I need to get past A before I can work on B. For example, a few years ago I was dating this guy who was a total turkey. Nice guy, but didn’t have his act in gear in the slightest. I knew I needed to end it with him. But I also knew that it would be stressful, a tad dramatic and (even though I was ready to call it quits) sad to endure a break-up. Simultaneously, I was hunting for a new job. Talk about intense – the secrecy, the anticipation, the hopes, the rejection, the fantasizing, the waiting – all of it made me want to pull my hair out. I kept saying to myself, “I’ll break up with him as soon as I get past this job hunt.” For some reason in my mind I felt like I needed to tackle one obstacle at a time in order to deal with the stress-storm life had handed me.
Eventually it dawned on me that while I was slightly at the mercy of others for the job hunt, the only obstacle from finding resolution with the boyfriend was me. So I tackled the issue head-on and broke up with him in the midst of a highly stressful time for me professionally. Was it fun to have my small shit storm turn into a hurricane? (bad visual…sorry) No. But I knew I had to address it. And so I did. And I was fine. In fact, I was more than fine. I found myself more confident for having rid myself of an unproductive relationship; it gave me the faith I needed in myself to keep looking for the right job. And you know what? I got a great job. Even better, the guy ended up marrying his hairstylist who was “way more fun than [me] because she stayed out really late and liked to party.” I’m pretty sure my ability to persevere through the stressful times helped produce a win-win for me
I think at complicated times in life, we need to remember not only that we can’t just wait for the storm to pass, but most of us already know how to dance in the rain. Figure out how to two-step your way through a problem and maybe even enjoy yourself while you’re at it.
If all else fails, try your hardest to laugh your way through the storm. Check out the funny posters at Despair for a pick-me-up!