This Too Shall Pass
I’ve been lucky. Fortunate, even. When it comes to loss, I haven’t had a ton of it. I haven’t truly been tested yet.
But what I’ve realized more than ever is that loss occurs much more than I ever imagined. When you hear “loss,” you think “death.” It’s a natural comparison.
But loss just kind of goes further than that. We experience it every day.
Just when you think you’re safe for the moment, it happens. I don’t remember who told it to me, but I remember from a young age that someone told me that bad things happen in threes.
When something bad happens, I’ve become accustomed to expecting the worst. I see the first domino, and I wait for the second. And then the third. And then once that third thing occurs — whether I made it up in my brain or not — I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s almost as though I coax something bad to happen just to make sure those three things are over with.
But with loss, it’s different. It’s not just things happening and moving on. There’s an absence. Something you have to fill elsewhere. A void that sticks with you until it doesn’t. Until the time has passed. Until the hangover fades. Until the day you wake up and it isn’t the first thing you think about.
Admittedly, I’ve never dealt with loss in a productive way. My defaults are as to be expected — sitting across the table from someone while we talk, drink as much as possible, and go home only to not sleep very well.
I haven’t experienced it all, and that’s why I mentioned how fortunate I am. I’ve never lost a job. I’ve been dumped a few times, but it was nothing I couldn’t shake off.
To be completely frank, I’m always absolutely frightened of how I’ll handle that tangible, real, punch-in-the-gut, out-of-the-blue loss. The one where you’ll always remember where you were when you found out. The one that sticks with you and doesn’t just wear off like bad headache after some Advil.
But what I’ve come to realize is that that loss isn’t synonymous with the end of the road. It’s a change. A shift. A necessary adaptation.
And those who make the best of that adaptation are the ones who weather the storm, the ones who show the resilience that I aspire to have, the resilience I’m not sure I do have a lot of the time.
I’m a naturally anxious person, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. That’s why I started Sunday Scaries in the first place, and that’s why I always try to plan for the worst.
Growing up, I had a privileged upbringing. We took family vacations, I could normally convince my parents to buy me things that I wanted, and I had no concept for money, which has now turned into the one thing in my life that scares me the most.
But things didn’t always stay that way. Reality got in the way and I soon learned the value of a dollar. Years ago, I was forced to make major life changes that separated my life experiences from a lot of other people out there — listeners like you.
I learned to cope with things that I never thought I’d have to, but at it’s core, that all just turned out to be part of growing up.
I’m 31 now. I have a career I enjoy, and a career I’m proud of. A family I love and who supports me, and a support system of friends that I’d do pretty much anything for. I’m content and I’d be selfish to ask for anything more.
But if I’ve learned anything through this whole “growing up” thing, it’s that loss never gets easier. Change never becomes easier to adapt to. News that no one wants to deliver never stings any less no matter how many times you have to go through it.
But if I’ve learned anything through trying to digest loss and change, it’s that there’s always a way out. Growing up, my best friend’s mom used to reiterate a saying that still sticks with me in trying times — “This too shall pass.”
Particularly over the last few years, that statement has become more and more apparent. I’ve faced certain obstacles that I didn’t think I had a way out of. I had a financial reality that mentally crippled me for the better part of a week. I moved away from my hometown — a place I never thought I’d say goodbye to. I’ve gotten so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t even know what a comfort zone was anymore.
But throughout it all — the good, the bad, the unfortunate, the brutal — I’ve had to tell myself, “This too shall pass.”
My coping mechanisms when it comes to change aren’t the coping mechanisms one might suggest. I sulk. I get emotional. I get erratic. I drink. I’m not proud of those things, but that’s the only way I know how and they’ve seemed to work up until this point. Would I suggest others do the same? No, but everyone handles adversity differently and I don’t think it’s right to judge people for how they cope with things that affect them.
But above all, what I’ve learned is that the only thing that I do suggest is that you carry yourself with kindness, dignity, and concern for others even in a time when those things may be hard to grasp.
When you feel as though you’ve lost something, you have to take the time to digest it. To understand what it meant to you. To understand why or how that loss occurred, whether fair, unfair, expected, or unexpected.
And then you have to tell yourself that, yes, “this too shall pass.” While there’s always something on the horizon, loss often makes you cherish the good things you have in the present and the past as well. The things you may have taken for granted, the things you encountered every single day but didn’t notice.
And when you start to begin to notice those things, you begin to realize that maybe things aren’t so bad — that maybe things don’t have to be so bad going forward either.
When you finally come to an understanding of why you’re emotionally affected, you can cherish those things and have a newfound appreciation for what they are, what they were, and what they can be in the future, no matter what the future holds.
Because at the end of the day, this too shall pass. Whether we’d like to admit it or not.