Red got some bad news this week. So did the Liberian Girl.
(If you're new here, the former is my little sister. More or less. The latter lets me wake up at her house a few mornings each week.)
The news each got represented a pretty big professional setback. The kind of setback where you're staring across a great big gully at the other side of a road that is, all of a sudden, no longer beneath you.
You know how that feels, don't you? It feels like your whole life is ruined.
You could be relieved of your job. Your girl could leave you. You could smash up your car. Your college could suddenly find another big pile of debt for you to pay down. You could lose all your vinyl in a fire. Or a flood.
Whatever the cause of your ruin, there's a cliche for how you can handle it. The one about lemons and lemonade. Or that other one about taking a hit versus how hard you can hit. Or, in the parlance of our times, those three letters that signal your disgust with it all: FML.
There's something kinda stunning about the imagery of a person surrounded by the debris of one day's catastrophe. I think it's the holyfuckness of the moment.
Like, "Holy fuck, I'm still alive?"
Followed by, "Holy fuck, did that really just happen?"
Which eventually leads to, "Holy fuck, what do I do next?"
Amid the ruins there always is a next. Which is kinda the point of life. It goes on. Until it no longer has to. And when it no longer has to, there's no next for you to be worried about. And there's certainly no ruins to follow you. At least not as far as this silly bastard knows about.
So, as I said to Red, get used to it. Your whole life is gonna be ruined a bunch of times while you still have it. Dozens. Probably hundreds. And it'll be ruined more frequently the older you get.
But every time it is, you'll get to figure out what to do next.
"Holy fuck" is right. Maybe the only right way to understand the ruined.