My wife Annie and I sat down tonight to take a look at our mutual schedules for the month of September. With her going to school to finish her Masters, as well as working part time, and me doing my Army Reserve and writing jobs—on top of my day job—getting everything to mesh well isn’t easy. We’re both literally going in six different directions at once, all the time, and tossing our daughter between us like a hot potato.
My initial reaction—upon seeing week after week of packed-to-the-gills scheduling—is to groan inwardly and say, oh my Lord, when are we ever going to be able to slow down again? Do I throw my hands up in despair? Yes, honestly, for about 5 minutes every morning when I wake up, I put a pillow over my head and wait for the world to go away.
When the world doesn’t go away . . . I remember four words which have saved my sanity many times: just roll with it.
Of the many dozens of different things that all have to get done in the next 30 days, a significant percentage of them will not get done. Nor come anywhere close to getting done. Panic time? Will someone come to my house and shoot me in the face? No. Just roll with it.
Of the overlapping meetings and appointments and destinations at which I must be, I am liable to encounter conflicts which cannot be resolved, be late, or even blow certain things off completely. Does this make me a horrible person? Will the world end if something gets missed? No. Just roll with it.
Nothing about the next 30 days will be anywhere close to what I’d consider “normal” for my household. My wife and I will barely see each other, we will not get to have weekends for work or play together, and while we will each have individual time with our daughter, my wife and I believe firmly that for us to be there for our daughter we need to each be there for our marriage first. This month is going to suck in this regard. Are we a bad couple? Bad parents? What will people think of us? What will we think of each other? Who cares. Just roll with it.
In fact, just roll with it would seem to be 90% of the secret to life.
As we occasionally say in the Army: no exercise, mission, or training, is ever done in ideal conditions with ideal equipment using ideal people. Almost always the conditions are fair to poor, the equipment lackluster or absent, and the people . . . not necessarily top-shelf. So, what do we do? We roll with it.
When I look at the lives of the successful people I know—and I mean truly successful people, in terms of money and work and family—they seem to be . . . just rolling with it.
Of the few truly iconic men and women I admire from history, when I’ve dug more deeply into their histories, quite often their lives have been sterling examples of . . . just rolling with it.
Is there anything that can’t be conquered by just rolling with it?
In my mind the #1 thing standing in the way of me just rolling with it, is catastrophizing each and every scenario. If I don’t somehow sail through a thing with flying colors, then the outcome is going to be somehow impossibly unbearable, thus I feel little tendrils of alarm shoot into my brain and my flight-or-fight response kicks off, and suddenly I am fretting and getting upset for no reason.
I’ve learned (am still learning!) to detach from the catastrophic impulse, and examine things with a more honest perspective. Even if one or more things, items, etc., in my life totally collapse this month, nothing is going to spell instant death. Nor would anything be beyond repair. I will, of course, most certainly attempt to acquit myself well in all that I do. This is not an excuse for slack-assery. But with a schedule this clogged and with how many different chores, tasks, and projects have to be touched and/or completed by this time next month, some things simply aren’t going to be executed to my full satisfaction, or possibly the full satisfaction of others.
Disaster? My irrational self says: yes!
My rational self (with added experience each year) says: bro, don’t flip out, just roll with it!
And so I shall roll.
How about you?