The Darkness

Every few months, a friend, E. and I meet up to catch up with the other, pinging back and forth on where we’re at with our work, life, etc. On Friday, holding our (so I dubbed it) bi-annual gentlemen’s quarterly, the topic of darkness came into conversation. Darkness, here, being a colloquial catch-all for “horrible fucking moments in life.” Currently on the exit-ramp of one of these eras myself, our chat really hit home.

Paraphrasing, at one point E. muttered “you have to go through the darkness to really learn.” He’s right. Really right. An accomplished business owner, E. is one of the rare folks actually qualified to make this point. We’d met a few years back when he hired me to design the interface for the first version of his company’s software. Meeting him at the beginning and watching the continuum of the business’s growth, every time we cross paths I tend to swoon and bow at the altar.

Though I never would have known it, E. suggested that he’d gone through some of the same stuff I’ve been going through (the “darkness”). Wisdom poked out in acknowledging that without actually having dealt with these things, you can’t really evolve. You need something to push back against your efforts to strengthen your response—emotional weight training.

Sitting across from one another, I wished I could have filmed the conversation and sent it back in time to myself a year ago. At that point, life felt like it had fucking crumbled with no resolve in sight. Pushing back against the darkness, slowly, things came back together. Now, at a point far better than I ever could have imagined, it’s confirmed: to get better, you have to claw your way out of the mud.

Everyone has their own struggles, their own bullshit to deal with. If you’re at one of these points in your own life right now, take a deep breath and focus on fixing what you can. Don’t consider the immensity of evolution—zoom into the positive things you can do right now to influence the future later. As E. and I joked back and forth on Friday, it sounds like total nonsense, but doing those things you know you should be doing now do add up to something really positive later.

Just invest, keep going, and accept that it’s going to fucking suck, right up until it doesn’t. Eventually, the light breaks on the horizon and things get…better.