If there’s one things we’ve learned from movies, it’s that if you are going through a crisis you must do at least one of the following:
- Buy something extravagant like a brand new car or boat. Bonus points if you can’t afford it or give it a sweet nickname like “Ginger.”
- Make some kind of crazy life change. This includes an extreme career change, ending a long term relationship, moving to somewhere completely different, or quitting your job and breaking your lease so you can travel to somewhere far away and “discover yourself.”
- Take up a new and obscure hobby that is preferably considered bad ass. For example, become a member of a motorcycle gang, take up sky diving, get your scuba certifications and start shark hunting (yeah I know, I want to do that too.)
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a few years ago I was feeling completely overwhelmed by my relationship, job, and just life. I was extremely unhappy, felt like I no longer controlled who I was or what I was doing and I was just drifting. And not the nice relaxing drifting, the kind where there’s a waterfall up ahead and you just know your pool noodle isn’t gonna make that drop.
Okay class; so I’ve entered a life crisis…based on our training, what should I have done? Let’s look at the facts… we already know I had (still have) no money to spare, so unfortunately for me an extravagant purchase was out of the question. This, by the way, is a real bummer because my boyfriend always says I’d look awesome driving around in a red ferrari convertible – don’t worry, I’ll be saving that one for my midlife crisis.
Next up: big life change. I already moved across the country from Chicopee, Massachusetts (yes, that’s really the name of my town) to Los Angeles, and quitting my dream of becoming a director isn’t going to happen anytime soon, so #2 isn’t an option.
This leaves us with Option #3: obscure and bad ass hobby.
In my state of confusion and panic I finally had a great idea and called up my buddy Diana to tell her I needed to learn how to surf… immediately. Now, a very important key fact you need to know about me and the ocean is that when I was about ten years old my mother was bitten by a shark in Daytona Beach.
YES… a shark bit my mom. Don’t worry, she’s perfectly fine. The shark basically bit her thigh and then instantly let go, leaving her with a perfect shark bite outline. This of course made my mom one of those people who found a way to talk about the shark bite EVERYWHERE we went: “Oh hello random person in the elevator I see you’re going to the beach. Well, I got bit by a shark at the beach…yes, a real shark, do you want to see the bite?”
It’s become a great Densmore Family Vacation story to tell people, but as a ten year old kid who felt like they were reliving Jaws (the story was quite scary and epic in my memory), I was left with an intense fear of open water and I became a terrible swimmer.
To recap my qualifications: Fear of certain death in the ocean and I still have to hold my nose when I go underwater…Perfect for surfing!
Long story short, within a week I bought a board, a surf rack, and started attempting to go surfing every chance I got. I’m not going to lie, I sucked at surfing. I was scared of big waves and every so often I’d think about how there could be a shark waiting to eat me and then I’d soon freak out. BUT, you can be damned sure I had every Facebook update about surfing make me sound wicked bad ass and each post had an awesome picture to go with it.
At the time I was too afraid to change my current life situation so I had to overcome a smaller fear first and make sure that didn’t kill me. Now, surfing didn’t turn out perfectly and I could barely stand on the board, but I didn’t die and get eaten by a shark either (yet). It’s a round-about way of getting there, but somehow by conquering my fear and making myself try surfing instead of constantly saying “I wish I knew how to surf, but I can’t because (insert lame excuse here),” I became rejuvenated with the self-confidence I needed to take on the other parts of my life. I was a surfer now, nothing could stop me!
Whatever it is you have to do to get there, always remember that no matter what the situation ism you will survive.. or even better, you might not only survive but also come out of it looking like a bad ass.
We’re at a strange part of our lives. We’re still pretty young (though it feels more like we’re running out of time) and we’re not supposed to have everything we want yet. Yes, the idea of having everything already sounds perfect and I wish my life were perfect, but think about it. We’re at our most ambitious time in our lives, if we already “had it all” what would we have to tirelessly strive for?
The thing that makes us so extraordinary as a generation is that drive towards our future. Younger kids look up to us because we’re making things happen and adults look back wishing they were that determined when they were our age.
So I encourage you to lose yourself and let the crisis take you over…just a little bit. Sometimes you have to feel completely lost to get the courage to find your way down a difficult and often scary path.
Going through a crisis doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Follow some crazy urge you’ve had or do something you’ve always wanted to try. Embrace the moments of insane bravery you’ll get when you’ve had it with life and you need a change. You might be surprised by the clarity or courage it can bring to you.
Also, think about it this way: If you allow yourself to openly admit you’re in a crisis, you have a perfect excuse to look awesome in your new ferrari (if you can afford it) or at the very least become a bad ass shark hunter. And if you survive to your 30’s AND you can tell people you’re a shark hunter, I promise you’ll feel like you can do anything.
By Tina Densmore