Some of the best advice that my dad ever gave me as a kid was not to let a bad day get me down because you never have two of them in a row. It might not always hold true, but it does most of the time and it’s a great mentality to have. Nothing ever stays the same, the good or the bad. That’s the story of life, get used to dealing with change because the only consistent part about life is that it’s inconsistent.
It was the middle of summer and I was on a weeklong vacation. I was spending the week at a campground with my family and we were all having a blast. Corn hole, mini-golf, beer pong, and the list went on. Life was great, and I was enjoying every moment of it. We decided to go down to the pool for the afternoon and get in on some of the water slide action. It was a long water slide with all kinds of twists and turns on the way eventually into the pool. With the blistering heat, I didn’t know a better way to spend the afternoon.
I went down the slide the first time and it was awesome. I got a running start and flew down it, spinning and racing until I crashed into the water. I couldn’t wait to go down again, so I raced back to the top and waited in the short line until it was my turn. The boring water slide lifeguard ran through his list of cautions and hazards, all of which I ignored. Down again I went for trip number two, only this one didn’t end quite the same.
Halfway down the slide, as I was twisting with the flow of the water and my arms in the air, my left should came out of socket. Life immediately changed. Fun changed to pain and excitement changed to urgency as I spent the second half of the slide trying to hold my arm in place to avoid further damage. As I crashed into the water, I spotted my sister swimming with her son and immediately cried out, “Get the car, my shoulder is out!”
As I crashed into the water and tried to hold my left arm as closely to its original place as possible, my mind raced between thoughts. How quickly did everything just change? How lucky am I that I have people around me to help me get to the hospital? I surfaced from the water and managed my way to the ledge. With some assistance from my family, I was able to get out of the water and into my sister’s car. I only had to sit down twice on the way to her car so that I didn’t pass out from a combination of the heat and pain. The remainder of my day would be spent in the hospital, and three hours later my shoulder was popped back into socket. That was how a wonderful vacation week with my family ended, not exactly how I expected. How quickly everything changed.
It was a Thursday afternoon and I was only a month away from summer vacation during my junior year of high school. No football practice after school, just going to play basketball with some friends at the YMCA. Life was great, I was dating the most beautiful girl in school, I was the quarterback of the football team and my social life couldn’t have been better. I felt invincible and nothing seemed like it could get in my way. That was until I received the news that my girlfriend was breaking up with me. Devastating. My world was flipped upside down. Suddenly, nothing seemed right, not football, not my social life, not my family, not my grades.
There was an empty pit in my stomach and it wouldn’t ever recover. I went to the nurse and faked being sick, just so I could go home early. I missed playing basketball and I didn’t go to school the next day. My life was ruined. The weekend came and went and all that I could think about was being dumped. Friends tried to help me cope with the situation but nothing that they said mattered. I was fighting with my dad, my brother, and all of my friends. I didn't know how to fix anything.
Time passed and the feeling slowly dimished. I wasn’t thinking about her as much anymore and after a week or two, I wasn’t thinking about her at all. In just a short time, I went from being debilitated, to realizing that I had my whole life in front of me. I had my eyes on a new girl and what I thought was deep love, wasn’t that at all. Life changes, and it changes quickly, don’t get stuck in the moment. Have a big perspective.
It was a Friday afternoon in the summer and my phone started vibrating. It was the Director of my division. This had to be the call. The call to determine whether I received the promotion that I had been working towards or not. I ran out to the back-parking lot so that I could receive it in confidence. Good or bad news, I didn’t want other people witnessing my reaction. I nervously picked up the phone and listened to the confident words, congratulations… I got the job! I accepted a promotion into a bigger market for more money and more everything. Life couldn’t have been any better! I had been working all my life for this opportunity and it finally came to fruition.
Life seemed perfect. I was filled with unlimited energy and everything seemed to make sense. All the tough times and situations suddenly seemed perfect. They were all life lessons to help make me a better person, and I appreciated all of them. I was moving onto bigger and better things and finally leaving this mess that I was currently involved in. Or that’s what I thought.
I spent the next 3 weeks in my new opportunity and quickly perspective changed. My definition of chaos was totally redefined. What I thought was green grass and rainbows turned out to be so much worse than what I had expected. Now it seemed as if I left a totally constructive environment for utter chaos. I quickly realized that I was in for the challenge of my life. And only a week ago I thought that my life was gravy. Within one week my perspective went from glorious to tragic. How quickly things changed. Life changes, and it changes quickly, don’t get stuck in the moment. Have a big perspective.
The reality of life is that nothing ever stays the same. Get used to adapting to changes because that’s the only consistent part about it. Life isn’t comfortable, as soon as you think that things are in cruise control and stable, something happens to throw you for a loop. As soon as you think that it can’t get any worse, something good happens. It has also made me appreciate the good times now more than ever. In the past I would have taken them for granted. It’s so easy to overlook the good times in the moment but we all so quickly recognize the bad times when they are upon us. Appreciate the great times when you have them and understand that the bad times are only temporary. Remember what my Dad told me, you never have two bad days in a row.