Testing Out of Life’s Remedial Class

We are at the age now where life does not always wait to drop the other shoe. I have a theory about that, but first, a little background.

When you’re young, every obstacle can seem like a challenge to be met. Things holding you back become tasks to finish, puzzles to overcome, or a longer race than you anticipated. But for some, everything seems possible as a young adult.

In the past three years, this has happened, and in fairly rapid sequence, all things considered:

  • I met an amazing woman and moved across the country (without a job yet) to court and marry her.
  • Once settled, I got a temporary job, and as soon as it moved to permanent, I asked my fiancée to quit her abusive job before it killed her (she did so, and her health gradually rebounded).
  • The pandemic swiftly encompassed most of the USA.
  • We moved up our wedding but postponed any honeymoon for safety reasons.
  • Stay-at-home orders were rolled out.
  • Wildfires and their smoke crippled most of our state, making even our backyard off-limits for most of the summer.
  • We launched a new writing project for 2021 and got our first couple of pieces published in a timely fashion. Then…
  • Literally four days before I would have been able to get a vaccine to reduce my family’s risk, the company I was with eliminated my position (and thus my eligibility for said vaccine).
  • Before I managed to find work again, we had a death in the family.
  • Some of my professional relationships happily evolved into personal friendships.
  • I learned that freelancing while looking for full-time work elsewhere is like working two jobs anyway, but only getting paid for one. (0/10 – do not recommend)
  • A local startup invited me to join their small, powerful team and focus my unique skill set where it could do the most good.
  • One of my thesis statements was proven to be correct.
  • A remedial class dropped into my life, only this time I “tested out” successfully. I was on the right track, but my wife helped me understand the final exam with which I was wrestling. Only then did I manage to pass a crucial test.

Quite the winding road! Yet when familiar patterns emerged, I saw some forks that I missed before. As our journey lengthens, does the pace accelerate, or do we simply see more, if we have the wisdom to pay full attention?

I have long said that life will give you the exact same lesson, in different forms, until you learn what you need to from it. But then, you get different lessons.

Is it a good sign to have so many chances to learn new skills and solve new problems, in quick succession? Or is it just exhausting? And how much of that depends on your attitude?

For the record, I think that how we respond to things matters more than what happens, on balance. And both can still be true: it is indeed exhausting AND probably still a sign that we’re ready to “level up” in life.

Well aware that the next thing could come up before we’ve sorted through the last events… I still have hope that we will learn what we need to from each struggle and reach a new, higher equilibrium. If that makes the next lesson easier to understand, so much the better.

Until then, remember to keep living, and not just waiting.

Published by

Matthew D. Futter

Writer, Researcher, Student of Life. Amateur birder. Aging hiker.

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