Life is relative. We often define who we are in relations to other people. So what happens when that person (or place, or pet) is gone? Who are we?
That was the biggest question in April of 2018. I became an orphan. I lost a child and a beloved pet. I was a single dad, hanging on as best I could for a 12-year-old, who already showed signs of becoming a teenager.
I had trusted the wrong people. I made mistakes. A dear friend calls them “Killer Bees.”
When I finally paid attention (i.e., when life slapped me across the face and told me to wake up!) I discovered that I had 50 credit cards (yes, 5-0) in my name, with a total of $160,000 worth of debt. It was more ignorance than identity theft, more unethical than illegal. I got myself into it, so I took responsibility to get me out.
I expected to lose it all. I started watching YouTube on how to live in my car (It started a love affair with Glampervans that may well take me into my retirement, but at the time wasn’t my main concern).
If you’ve ever seen the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once you’ll understand the idea of “Alternate Timelines”. When everything fell apart all at once I saw them all… from huge success to dismal failure. Oddly enough, what got me through it was my acceptance of it all. “Whatever happens,” I told myself, “I’ll be OK.”
Don’t get me wrong. It still sucked. It was just the realization that “Giving In” was not the same as “Giving Up.” I had no time for the Past. The Present and the Future needed all my attention.
My son, more than anyone, needed me to be bigger than I felt. So that’s what led me to two new rules to live by:
- Be Kind to Yourself, and
- Buckle Up, Buttercup!
Things just have to get done. Life keeps moving forward. Jobs have to be done. Kids have to be bathed and fed. And many times, you’re the one who has to do them. So do them.
Remember Rule #1. Don’t do anything at the expense of kindness, especially to yourself. Maybe just lying in bed staring at the ceiling is the “best you can do.” (Believe me, my ceiling was well stared at). Some things, a lot of things, don’t need that much attention, especially when you’ve got healing to do. It’s just dust… or a missed movie you can see another time. It’s a balancing act, but there’s no right way to do that either. Just Rule #3) Do the best you can, while you can.
Next, take inventory. You might also call this “counting your blessings.” It gets you focused on what you still have, rather than on what you’ve lost. Remember, you can’t rebuild using something you no longer have.
Then, dream. Go wild. It doesn’t have to make sense, or even seem possible right now. The pieces that fell away might have been weighing you down. “Falling apart” might actually be the first step in “Falling into place” so set your sights on something new (or something old that you let disappear).
I know. It seems “too good to be true” … or “impractical” … or “impossible”. It’s “easier said than done.”
Yes, I know all about that. Nobody said it was going to be easy. I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.
How do I know?
Stu… Rosen… Art.
It was there… and now it’s here.
And I’m going to London to show my art in April.
So, trust me on this, OK?
Getting Stu Rosen Art to London is easier said than done. I need your help. Every little bit makes a huge difference. https://gofund.me/f6cfc391