Unexpected Pot Holes Make Great Trophies

In the course of a day, most people can quickly tell you the 10 things that went wrong compared to the 1000 that actually went off without a hitch. The douche that cut you off in traffic is the spawn of the devil. That granny had it out for you in the grocery store, getting in your way at every turn — on purpose. Then there is the matter of the lunch bill where “you know who” skimped again.

Even though these offenses are minor and not very often, we tend to hang on to those much longer than we appreciate that flawless good things in a day. Your car started. You got somewhere safely. You’re in good health. You have food and a place to stay.

So what does it take to navigate the pot holes and spend more time appreciating the “goodies”? Well, in my case, it took some butt kickin’.

East Coast Girl Busts Loose; Enter Pot Holes

As an east coaster, I grew up a complainer. It’s just what you do. Having a subtle annoyed tone to everything you say is a trademark. You commiserate in misery, about who done you wrong and how you’re getting screwed over, yet again. Not to say EVERYONE is like this, however, this overtone is not looked at in a negative way when you live there. It’s just normal.

Then I was whisked away to Colorado by a lovely boy I’d met during the summer in Boston. I left the pessimism behind and was greeted by sunshine, mountains and smiles. SMILES! People were friendly just for the hell of it. They made eye contact. They acknowledged you. I was transformed into a believer. I thought, “nothing can go wrong now!”

The fact I had no job, car or friends was forgotten. I was in a new land with a new perspective. A chance to dramatically change the direction of my life for the better, and leave behind the series of jobs in high-tech public relations that had drowned my creative spirit.

Reality Bites Back

After a few months of awesomeness, reality pushed its puss-like head to the surface. The boy and I were arguing. He was staying out of the house more. I still had no job. We had one car, a stick, and I didn’t know how to drive it yet. I had no friends that weren’t also friends with the boy. I felt lonely and sad, but I didn’t want to prove to my family they may have been right to be skeptical of my move. So I did my best to hide it.

Then the unexpected happened. Break up time. Emotional. Challenging. Feeling of being lost. No one to rely on. Overwhelmed. Freaking out. Yet, I didn’t think of turning back to move home.

I will not lie — the next six months or so were some of the hardest ever in my life to this day. The unemployment ran out. I had to move in with other people who were pretty much strangers, and some shit went down that wasn’t pretty. My first grand parent died and I couldn’t make it out for the funeral. But no matter how much I thought about it, I still couldn’t bring myself to leave Colorado.

Dump the Bowl of Bitter Flakes

Things did get better. Kind of. Me and the boy patched things up, only to end it yet again with much more pizazz, destruction and pain a few years later. I was lost and confused, thinking, “What about the time I wasted in a relationship that went no where with a person who wasn’t worth it? Why do all these pot holes keep knocking me down at the knees?”

Then, I finally moved into a neutral space with friends for a few months. I sorted my crap out. I found a roommate. I started freelancing. I made more friends; good ones. I figured things out. The pot holes were getting filled and I was making progress.

I finally realized I could actually see the strong, vibrant, positive person I was becoming. Crawling out of the bottom of the muck, when I didn’t think it could get worse, I saw my own shadow behind me. I had been transformed from my experiences, each, day, hour and minute. A new me showed up, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I could finally see how each pot hole was really a trophy, and showed me how working through one thing naturally prepared me for the next.

Next time you think that unexpected delays, experiences and pot holes do nothing but ruin your day, really think about it. Where would you be without them?

Photo by jcoterhals on Flickr