In Interesting Times

June 25, 2021

How long will you slide? When something awful happens and it seems like you can’t stop feeling like you did that day, Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Mike Vaness has some words of advice to get you to the other side.


Have you heard that it’s an ancient curse to say, “May you live in interesting times”? While our lives are full of routines and ruts, doing the same thing day in and day out, some people find security and comfort in a predictable life, while others cannot stand it. However, no one ever expects to have everything you know change all in one day – in one instant. No one is prepared for the shocking moment when you find out you were adopted; the moment when police officers are at your door looking for you; the moment when your doctor declares that you have a serious illness; the moment when you catch a glimpse of a car as it slams into the side of your vehicle. You are overwhelmed: “What’s going on! This can’t be happening! Why me! This always happens to someone else!” These are the things you hear about in gossip about others, about someone else. The thing we forget is that to everyone else in the world, you are the “someone else.”


Yet in these moments, and despite our greatest wishes, life somehow continues on; your story isn’t over. The light from that ever-stubborn sun creeps through the curtains in your room, and you wake up. Another day has come, despite your most stringent protests to the contrary. Time is indomitable: it does not stand still, and that is probably for the best. The following days, weeks, or even months are tough to endure. You have to deal with things that you wished you never would, but I can assure you: it is best to confront these head on as becoming avoidant will only delay the inevitable. Now, yes I can hear you saying, “Oh sure, it’s easy to just say that, but how do I make it work?” But you can always be assured of two things. One: tomorrow will always come, no matter what you are dealing with, and with it comes the chance of new beginnings. Two: no matter how bad things are, no matter how hard things seem, everything comes to an end. This second one may seem a little dark, but remember, this ending also applies to all the sadness, anger and frustration you are feeling. 


I’ve personally experienced this. Initially it felt like there was nothing that could help, that my entire life was over and that there was no coming out the other side. This is how things can feel: that your entire life is swallowed up by this large and imposing reality – but there are some things that I felt helped me, slowly but steadily, emerge from these overwhelming feelings. The first was to take stock of what I did still have. I still had my partner, my friends and my family to support me. I still had my home, a place where I could feel safe and comfortable. These were things that were present in my life previously, and they had not changed. I reminded myself that I still had agency and control over some aspects of my life. I started to remind myself of what I still could do for myself, and did not take anything for granted. I could still cook for myself, I could still decide what my space looked like, I could go out for a walk when I wanted to. While these on their own do not seem like much, they allowed me to feel like I had some control over my life, and every small step can have a big impact. 


Furthermore, please do not feel that you have to go through this process alone! There will always be someone you can reach out to for help. Even if you lose some people who are close to you, there are always options, like Low Entropy. There will always be people who will be willing to meet you with open arms and helping hands. Despite how hard it can be to seek company when you are feeling lost and depressed, being around people who you trust and love will help push you forward. 


I know that this article is just scraping the surface of what it is like to go through an emotionally and physically difficult time in your life, but if you’ve read this far, I can assure you that there are brighter days ahead. While your life may have changed in ways that you could never have expected, it’s just that: a change. It’s not an end. The best thing about change is that it allows you to have experiences and live a life you never thought possible. I know that, while my life took a turn I didn’t expect, it has allowed me to assess the positive things I have, and make other changes for the better, so there has been some good that has come from the experience – and I am grateful for that. 


We’re grateful for Mike Vaness. And rainbows! And ducklings! There’s just so much – help us out! What are you grateful for? Build on our list in the comments, on our other social media channels or at a Low Entropy meet-up!

One thought on “In Interesting Times

  1. Great post, Mike.

    I’m grateful for my family and my ability to go for daily walks. I’m also grateful for my work and all of the positive and supportive people in my life. Whenever I feel challenged or I’m going through a tough time, I practice gratitude. It’s powerful, meaningful, and extremely helpful because it allows me to become more grounded in the present.

    Thanks for this post. 🙂

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