Thoughts and a Look Back

I like to stop and assess and compare. Where was I a year ago? I remember moving into my new place just days after being dumped. Everything felt cold and empty. All I recall is this smell like cleaning supplies–sterile. I slept with the TV on every night. I was positive, positive that I would never recover. That the root of all my progress this far had very little to do with myself and everything to do with the false confidence the relationship had given me. But I kept going. In Atlas Shrugged they call it motive power. The force that keeps you going, it was the only thing that made me get up each morning. I thought of just wanting to die. I didn’t have anybody. I remember thinking, there isn’t any amount of money I wouldn’t pay to stop this. For a solid month, there wasn’t a day that I was able to fall asleep under my own volition. I finally got a handle on things but it took a long time.

Where am I now? A pretty similar situation–moving again, into a new place. But all those fears are gone. That I wouldn’t be able to get up, that it was over, that it had been a fluke, that was all bullshit I’d been convinced was true. Once I got it out of my system, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not happier and better. A year later, my attitude couldn’t be more different. I got my shit together. I’m in a relationship with someone that doesn’t disappoint me–that supports me. I’ve surrounded myself with people who have expectations for me that are higher than my own, that I have to rise to meet and satisfy.

Of course, to have expected these things then would have been ridiculous, incomprehensible. But I knew that something was around the corner and that all I had to do was make it there in one piece. It’s easy to wallow at that point, to make excuses for behavior to “distract yourself”, or start spending time doing things that were you in a position to do otherwise, you would decline. All I know is that from my experience, you have to push through and stay intact. It can always get better and it almost always does.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.