Does 'Life suck'?
Half full, quite empty? That is the question.
I met a person who was devastated that they had lost their job due to catching Covid, but found another more suited to them, yet in the meantime they had to move house, which also turned out to be a good move. They, one of the great unvaccinated, had been off work for six weeks and now 2021 defined them. They had had a really grotty year and, although 2021 had ended very well, they were miserable, “Life sucks.”
Yup, it does. If you think it does. Well, unless you happen to have been left at Kabul Airport. Or almost anywhere in once lovely Syria, the same for poor old Iraq. But for the rest of us here in benign ol’ Britain, life needn’t suck.
Somebody who has know me for yonks said that renovating this house did me in. That surprised me. Although, looking back, I must admit that each evening as we hauled ourselves back from this wreck to our rental round the corner, we were utterly shattered. After a day of total slog, on our way to the comforts of an empty house with a mattress on the floor and a delightfully warm shower, we had the choice of a Chinese, an Indian or a fish n chips joint, so, too tired to cook, we often lived off take-aways. The empty rental that we had done up and painted and then rented at a slightly reduced fee belongs to our friend. She saw us each week and witnessed what she now claims was my gradual demise.
That was the entirety of 2020. In contrast, 2019 had been a fit and fun year. Quite an unusual one, for after years of rotten health created when an operation went very wrong, I had built myself back up to being able to live properly once again. We cycled, we swam, we walked and walked and we went out to restaurants and dined with friends and I was OK. Yes, 2019 was my year! Then came 2020 and then 2021, which could have sucked with its three deadly emergencies and nine rounds of internal infections - but when I had the energy, I created or we went out on little trips so that I could walk a hundred metres. We weren’t alone, the world suffered, many lost loved ones….
Compare that with, Mr Life sucks. Life really doesn’t for most Europeans, so if it does, it could be that you need to ask why you have got caught in a swampy corner of your mind. Ooh, that was a bit harsh. Sorry if it hurt. But it was said with compassion.
That’s where we need to start if we want a route out of our quagmire, with self-compassion. Smiling at ourselves is the first step, it is like a lilly leaf for a frog. You are suddenly out of the murk and its dangers and sit plumply in the sunshine, croaking away, telling the world what a relief it is to be up there out of the muddy waters.
“Humpf,” you might think, “not that easy mate!”
No, but it’s doable. On top of those health issues, we could have been floored by the huge financial difficulties created by this troubled old house and by prices soaring as we renovated during lockdown; by complex Planning issues unjustly caused by small minded neighbours who have also turned those surrounding us against us.
Despite the shock of moving into such an unfriendly street, we are civil, we keep our heads down. Despite all our life savings having gone, we see the positives. Despite poor health, we find ways to live as full a life as I am able.
Life doesn’t suck. Not in our heads.