They always say if you don’t go through bad things you won’t appreciate the good.
They say you need to go through trials and tribulations to appreciate where you are now compared to where you’ve been.
They say you need to push through, that it’s just a rough patch, and that if you keep going, they say you’ll make it out alive.
And whoever they are, they’re right. We just tend to forget, or maybe ignore, all that advice when we’re going through those rough patches, when we’re in the midst of trials and tribulations, and when the bad is blocking out all the good in our lives.
We live in a world that feeds off of instant gratification. Text messages don’t get prompt responses, relationships fail to be defined, and job offers don’t come. But we texted first, we want to be with that person, and we applied to that job an hour ago. Why haven’t we heard back?
Our parents, and their parents all struggled. Yes, our generation has technology, and the ease and accessibility of it has made communication that much stronger, faster, and immediate. But we, as millennials, fail to accept that regardless of that access, we all still must struggle and endure the worst parts of life, in order to come out stronger, to persevere, and appreciate what we’ve built, just like our parents.
The reality of the world is that things aren’t going to be handed to you, and if they are, you’re extremely lucky and shouldn’t take it for granted.
The internet has made overnight success a seemingly attainable and tangible idea, when in reality, most kids coming out of college will not be on the influential 25 under 25 lists, and they’ll have to work for money just like 98% of the population.
Hollywood has made romantic relationships and the idea of perfection achievable. And while you should still never compromise on someone with whom you’re going to spend the rest of your life, the harsh truth is that things don’t work out like the movies, and you’re going to have one or multiple failed relationships in order to realize what you want, need, and deserve in a partner.
You’re going to have to start from scratch, try and create something out of your life with a multitude of wrong ingredients before you finally realize there isn’t a recipe to success, it’s all just trial and error until you get it right.
But that’s why it’s called endurance.
You need to have that shitty job when you’re first starting out to know that you’ll constantly strive for bigger and better. There are going to be horrible things that happen to you along the way, people are going to get promoted over you, you may get laid off, you may be stuck in a position for a long time with no room for growth.
But you have to endure it.
You need to have a series of imperfect connections for you to know when a good one comes along. Sparks will fly and fade multiple times until you find one that just keeps burning. You’ll figure out what you thought you needed when you were sixteen may not translate to your desires for twenty-five. Or maybe you’ll realize you shouldn’t have let that one get away when you decided you wanted to grow up separately rather than together.
But you’d never know these things if you didn’t endure them.
There’s a reason why life is considered a marathon rather than a sprint. If we all rushed to where we were going, we’d be dead in nine minutes. But the beauty of time is that we have it and the reality is we should not waste it. We need to understand that life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies and there are going to be shitty times where you want to give up, run away, or break down.
But you should just endure it.
Because at the end of that seemingly endless, pitch-black tunnel, there will be a light. And everything you’ve worked for, gone through, and endured will be worth it.
You’ll find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and cherish the connection you have from the start. You’ll nurture that relationship and use the lessons from your past to make yourself and your partner better.
You’ll get your dream job (eventually), and realize that all the skills you acquired through that crappy customer service gig or the connections you made through that string of temp jobs will ultimately help you in the long run, even if it seemed like remedial work at the time.
Because endurance is the reason people wait all winter for spring. It’s the reason we lived in that horrible roommate situation to be able to save up enough money to move out and into a better place. It’s the reason we hate our lives now, but will love and appreciate our future.
So just remember to endure it.