Rahm Emaneul, President Obama’s first Chief of Staff, was famously quoted as saying, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste” in response to the financial meltdown of 2008.
I imagine most would regard that quote disdainfully—a little too Machiavellian for their pleasant palates, perhaps.
But you know what? It is that exact mentality towards life in general that I have tried to apply to my life over the years, and I have been trying even harder ever since I was diagnosed with cancer and lung disease.
Because let’s face it, regardless whether your palate prefers pleasantries or not, the saying that we all know, every single one of us, that expresses so well about the horrible inevitables that life sometimes trips us up with is not “Flowers Happen!” or “Perfume Happens!” No, the saying we all know and have probably even declared from time to time in our sometimes horribly inevitable lives is:
And do you want to know why we say it?
That is a rhetorical question because I know you all ready know.
We all know the answer because no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we study to get good grades, no matter how many hours we put in at work to make the money that we use to build our little nests for which to lay in our little eggs, no matter how well we plan and believe we are prepared for all the horrible inevitables we find in our paths, sometimes life can really stink.
And sometimes it can really, really stink. Sometimes life can be so smelly our noses cannot even become desensitized to it. Sometimes the smell is so bad it seems like it has become our permanent atmosphere. And in order to survive, we have to breathe it in no matter what, knowing that each breath we take is poison and will make us gag, or even kill us.
Now that is one stinky life, in my blurry view.
Fortunately for me, one of the side effects from all of the shit that has been happening in my life lately is that I lost both my sense of smell and taste.
Pretty handy when life smells so badly that you can almost taste it.
Shit happens. Yes it does.
Another less offensive way to those whose sensitivities are easily offended, and less poetic, too, of saying the same thing would be to say that life is nothing more than moving from one crisis to the next.
I guess how we manage life, then, is dependent upon how we define and deal with crises.
I am not sure how you define and deal with yours, but I define my crises as “inevitable opportunities” and, like I all ready more than alluded to with the title of this article, I deal with them by exploiting the hell out of them.
For instance, this blog is nothing but a pure and simple exploitation of the biggest crises that I have ever faced in my life.
I have been exploiting the hell out of my cancer and lung disease as much as I can. Hell, I tell you exactly as much in my cheeky, self-infatuated, hand-written blurb about me under my obviously intentionally depressing looking picture of me, used only to get you to feel sorrow for me so that you will be more compelled to read my exploitative writings.
But, there’s more to the exploitation than that.
I may sarcastically say I am exploiting my disabilities by trying to get you to feel sorry for me, but what I am really doing by all that nonsense is attempting to cope with my insecure feeling of trying step out in my new life as a writer and an author. It’s all pretty scary for me.
What I really mean when I say I am exploiting my disabilities is that I am trying as best I can to take advantage of the opportunities my crises have provided.
And the opportunities are many.
Do you think I really would have been able to pursue my life-long love of writing as aggressively as I am doing now had I not become stricken with cancer and then a chronic, debilitating lung disease?
I think not, so I am exploiting the hell out of my disabilities to blog and to facebook and to tweet and to finally publish the novel and poetry collection that I had never been able to finish before because life had always gotten in the way.
Do you think I really would have had the time to share each day and grow in partnership and friendship and love with my wife and children had I not become stricken with my diseases?
I think not, so I am exploiting the hell out of my disabilities by waking each day looking for new ways to love more and to be more loving and to continually grow as an individual.
I could give many other examples of how exploitative I am and how I am not letting my crises go to waste, but these will do for now.
And sure, sometimes the smell of the crises in my life are so overwhelming to me that I become numb and despondent from the smell, but those days, too, are nothing more than smaller crises that must be dealt with in the same manner as all the others: by realizing that no matter how hard I try to be positive and productive, sometimes it—my life—will just hurt too much and I am going to become deeply depressed and I am going to feel so sorry myself for being so unlucky and I am going to feel so resentful towards you for being so lucky and I am going to sit in my cocoon-like chair and let myself sink into a almost inescapable (so far) black hole of depression.
It happens. I get depressed. And I realize it will continue to happen to me from time to time until a cure is found for my lung disease.
But I accept that it will happen.
And when it does, I will deal with it by exploiting the hell out of it.
Oh, by the way.
Now that I got you feeling sorry for me…
How about reading [download id=”7″] and letting me know what you think of it? ;)