The Life is Hard Checklist
People often don’t talk about what it is actually like to do the hard things in life. The hard things in life, we just do and we don’t really talk about them.
My daughter came home today and lost her mind over the fact that we wouldn’t be attending “spirit night” at Mellow Mushroom, a local pizza place.
First off, we ate pizza the other night. [And yes, we eat pizza. I am not a monster.] Secondly, just no.
So hard things.
Trust me… the “easy” thing to do is to go to soccer practice then have pizza night. That’s easy.
Empathizing with an 8-year-old girl’s view of the world as over because she can’t go to spirit night is hard. Getting her to do her homework after such disappointment? Yes, that is hard. And the big kicker? Putting on a thinking cap about how to handle the tantrum (parenting moment) so as to not scare, scar, or maim is a big deal.
It takes thought and presence and love in the midst of true exhaustion.
But really, it has nothing to do with love. Of course I love her. Rather, it has everything to do with simply the right thing… which is often the hard thing. [Hold on for what’s coming, say my parents-of-teenagers friends. 🙂 ]
We don’t talk about the hard things.
Because we want the hard things to be REALLY difficult so that it is worthy of the term “difficult,” or “struggle” or “suffering.” We want to deeply struggle so we have a story that is worthy of a nod and a mutter from our friends of, “That sucks.”
But small stuff can be hard, too. And it’s okay to admit that.
People don’t want to admit that managing a stubborn 8 year-old is hard, or work is tiring, or life is stinky, or _______. [Fill in the blank with whatever.]
Why can’t we admit that? Why can’t we admit that it’s often the small things or the culmination of things that ultimately break us when we are at our limit?
I think makes the everyday person a warrior is when they do the hard things, consistently—in life and in sport, on a daily basis—and especially in tough situations.
No matter how tired. No matter how justified doing the low, easy, pizza-thing is.
And when we do the hard things, we become better people.
“Being able to stand confident in how you responded to a negative situation is a pretty honorable place to be, and a testament to your character.” Source.
If we ignore the hard things or allow the hard things to run over us, we will become bitter people.
I don’t do bitter any more. I reach out. Over and over. I just do my best to be fair and do what is right. There’s a code of ethics when it comes to the way you treat people. There is also a code of ethics with how you allow yourself to be treated. And everyone is allowed to have limits. Even 8 year-olds who want to go to spirit night. #blessHer
Yes yes yes, I fail sometimes. But I try. I don’t shut down. I ask questions. I express gratitude. I ask how I can help, what is wrong, what is next, what can I do… I try and do what I need to do. And yes, I still fail.
It’s interesting how that same technique works in parenting. Doing those things to a temper tantrum actually disarms a lot of the noise, I have learned. After nine years.
But that’s what it means to move forward. To recognize that you have asked all the right questions, have reached out time and time again for a solution or a compromise, and that you did everything on your checklist.
Create YOUR checklist of things to do that are necessary to check off when life is hard. Like the Sucky Rotation Schedule, but something new:
The Life Is Hard But I am Rocking It checklist can go something like this:
- Did I express gratitude to the right people today
- What is the TRUE truth about this situation
- Did I ask the right questions
- Was I considerate and kind in my questions and actions
- Did I ask how I could be helpful
- Did I take into account the feelings of others
- Have I honored my convictions, my life, my mission
- Have I protected the people who have supported me
- What can I do better tomorrow or the next time
Feel free to make your own checklist. But do it. Make yours.
And when that checklist (and whatever is on YOUR checklist) is exhausted, and YOU are exhausted… what else can be expected of you?
Not a damn thing. Check off the stuff, know you gave your best effort, and move on.
Hey, they don’t call it a high road for no reason.
It’s called the high road because we had to climb our asses all the way up to that road up there before we took it.
I have been on the bottom. There’s no reason to crawl back down there for anything or anyone.
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