Life is fucking hard. It’ll eat you up like a rabid dog chewing at your exposed ankle. Make a mistake or a wrong choice or find out cancer is riddling your bones and things get really difficult, real quick. God, or whatever fuckery created us, didn’t create a smooth path forward (well, apparently that god did and Eve decided to cast us into sin—let’s not talk about how that vilifies women, k?). If you make it any length in this life, you’re going to be bloody and beaten and broken.
Americans seem to make this even harder. Our independence just might be our downfall too. We sure like to blame other people for their problems or predicaments in this life. Social programs and a crumbling health care system set us up to fail harder if we fall on difficult times. But, we don’t worry about those people because that will never be us.
So yes, I believe wholeheartedly that life is difficult. Shit and hardship are handed out like a coked-up mom thrusting candy at kids at her door on Halloween. As the Man in Black spoke in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling you something.” The odds are stacked against you and human nature being what it is, you’ll be content to take home your couple bucks a week, settle on the couch, and binge watch 20 seasons of Law & Order: SVU.
There’s a silver lining to life’s inherent hardship. It forces us humans to develop resilience. Resilience is the pinnacle of human achievement, in my very humblest of opinions. The mother raising three kids on her own making twelve dollars a day somehow makes it work. The quadriplegic guy becoming a motivational speaker. A woman living on her last dollar writing about a boy wizard. Working fifteen hours a day just so your spouse battling schizophrenia has a bed at the psychiatric hospital and a good therapist.
You see, this resilience allows us to keep eating shit. You’ve got to eat shit to make anything of yourself. This is true in every setting in life. Want to build a multimillion-dollar business? Put in the hours, work seven days a week, take chances, and hope for luck. Want to work in tech, but you’re a social worker? Put in the hours to learn code, spend every waking minute coding, and work for free (yes, this is actually how I became a programmer). Want to publish a book? Call yourself an author? Fucking write. Word after word, sentence after sentence. Even when you don’t feel like it.
I thought I couldn’t write until inspiration hit. When a character came to me, I was ready. When the scene played out in my head, I sat down to write. Habit and diligence and eating shit wasn’t part of my character. Me, a constant leaf blown whichever direction my chaotic mind blew. I subscribed to the mystical, fairy artistry of being a creative person. What a crock of shit that turned out to be. What a silly child I was. Over this past decade, I have learned it isn’t inspiration or grand ideas that create results. Results come from being consistent with the habit. Results come from eating shit every day.
This lesson was forgotten this past weekend. To be honest, I just got tired of picking feces out of my teeth. Eating shit day in and day out without feedback or forward momentum can be tough. I forgot that results don’t happen just because I want them. Nobody owes me anything. The world sure doesn’t owe me anything. Just existing is the only gift this world has given me, has given any of us. I owe the world my sweat and an endless stomach for eating—you guessed it—shit.
So, I get up early. 4:30 am doesn’t come all that naturally for me. But, I want something more significant. I want to call myself writer. I want to call myself author. I want to publish a novel. I want to leave a legacy of words. I want this to be a permanent part of my identity. I want to stick my sword in the sand and proclaim that I am a writer. So, I write, and I eat shit. Every morning, every day for another month, for another year, for five years, a decade. I shut up and humble myself. I remember that life is fucking hard. I remember that I am privileged to even have the ability to write. I practice patience.
Life is hard. Eat shit. Practice patience. Be resilient. That about sums up my philosophy.