Rock Bottom

“When you hit rock bottom,
You’ve got two ways to go
Straight up
And sideways…
I’ve seen my share of hard times
And I’m letting you know:
Straight up…is my way”
— The Judds

Ya know, I spend a lot of time preaching about staying positive and making your life better. I imagine if you don’t know me, it seems a bit like a silver-spoon-golden-sperm-club-kid telling you that “money isn’t everything”. Well, I’m here to tell ya, I’ve seen the bottom…and I know how it feels. Although I hate to admit it, my life isn’t always Rainbows & Unicorns…

Whether it’s financial, personal or emotional; I’ve been there. Although, I dunno, maybe not? I suppose we should define “Rock Bottom”. What is “Rock Bottom”? I’d say, “Rock Bottom” is when you are absolutely sure things can’t get any worse. Ok, so, I suppose I’ve never been there. I’ve never felt like my “life was over”, but then again, I believe that’s a perception issue. So, for the sake of the arguement, we’ll say I have been there!!!

So, yeah, Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom Brewery: great beer. I love the Brickyard Brown. Oh wait, different Rock Bottom. Focus, Dave, focus…

So, some might say I’m at Rock Bottom right now. I just ended a fifteen month relationship with a woman I expected to marry. The hardest part is that I still love her dearly; but, sometimes love just isn’t enough…

So yeah, Rock Bottom? Maybe. For some, yes; for me, maybe. Here’s the deal: I look at Rock Bottom as an opportunity for a ‘clean slate’. I’ve heard it said that “problems are just opportunities for change”; I suppose I look at Rock Bottom as the same situation…an opportunity for change.

Ok, so Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom comes in many different forms; personal, emotional and financial. We get to Rock Bottom by a myriad of methods; sometimes it’s external, sometimes it’s internal and sometimes it’s completely unknown…you just wake up one day and realize you’re there. BUT, no matter what the circumstances or the reasons, one thing remains the same: it’s a place for opportunity!!!

Ok, now before you give up on me, let me kinda let you into how my head works…

Rock Bottom — September 2011
So, I thought I was getting married. I thought I was in love with a woman ‘forever’. Now, I realize it’s not. Now, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken. There’s obviously an emotional side to this that’s not included…but, I overcome my emotions by using logic. So, let’s use logic!!! I’m thirty-four years old and surprisingly single. Ok, now what?!? Well, I always say life is “10% Circumstance & 90% Reaction”…so, here’s my circumstance, how do I react?!?!

Here’s how I’m reacting…
I’m working on me. I’m looking at who I am and how I got here. I’m self-reflecting and working on understanding how I need to change to try to not put myself in this position again. I’m also focusing on the positive. I’m grateful for being 34 and un-engaged, as opposed to 40 with two kids and divorced. The bottom line: it could always be worse…

So, here I am. What next? THAT is really the key. When I get to a major life change, I turn the corner.

No more:
“But, what about this…what about that?”
“Oh, man I really miss ____ and I’m never going to have ____ again…”

Instead, try:
“That’s yesterday, let’s talk about tomorrow…”
“You can’t move forward if you’re looking backward…”

So, I’m taking my own advice, I’m working on tomorrow. I’m looking at my Life Goals and adjusting to be sure I find them. I’m looking at this as a chance to try new things, do things I had given up on and to explore the world to find things I didn’t know existed. My life isn’t over, it’s just beginning!!!

Now, I’m sure my female friends are accusing me of being cold-hearted and worse. Now, before you pass judgement, give me the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. Let’s take a look at another example. It’s a different situation, but my approach was the same…

Rock Bottom — April 2010
It was the Saturday of the Final Four weekend. Butler was set to play in their first ever Big Dance Apperance. I was taking a nap on my couch when my neighbor comes busting through my front door screaming “get your keys…NOW!!!!” He had a look on his face like the apocalypse was eminent. I’ll never forget the urgency and concern in his voice. Unfortunately, it was for not; by the time I was coherent, it was too late…

The Repo Man was outside hooking up to my truck. I was 45 Days late on my payment. I had been conversing with the bank about a solution, but had been out of town and didn’t see an email warning of the consequences. No excuses, I voided the agreement and they were claiming what was theirs…

So, I jumped off the couch and approached the guy who was here to take my beloved Avalanche. We talked and it was clear there was no way to talk myself out of this situation (which, is rare for a charismatic guy like me!!!). Fortunately, he was a good guy and stood quietly while I emptied several years of my life out from the console and underneath the backseat. I even chased him down the street to get the IMS Parking Sticker from the window…

I’ve got to tell you, I’ll never forget the scene as I watched my truck pull out of my drive on a hook…knowing I’d never see it again.

In the next few hours, I did what I have come to learn as my ‘therapy’; I journaled. I sat down and poured out my emotions into words that nobody but me will every read. As I remember, there was one thing that stood out during the experience: Chris’s concern for my well-being. He was so upset and was trying to protect me like I was his child. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. In spite of the negativity of the day, that was a shining light…

You see, less than a year earlier, I had an epiphany on a deserted island: I wasn’t proud of the person I had become. While I had many successes and accomplishments, when it was all said and done, I wasn’t proud of who I was…

So, on this day, a day that some would say is Rock Bottom, I was actually proud. I was proud that I had built a friendship so strong that a grown man would bust through my door with great concern for my well-being. Sure, I was ashamed and worried about my parents and their disapproval of my life; but in the end, I knew I was growing as a person…

Incidentally, I turned a corner that day and have built a solid financial foundation for myself. For fun, I’ll throw in a line from a current hit song that hits me every time…

“One year they reposses your truck,
And the next you make a couple million bucks…”
— Jason Aldean

It’s been almost eighteen months and I’m better. I’m not at the top, but I’m on my way again. I hit Rock Bottom, I learned from it and and I’ve got a plan to ensure I never see it again…

So yeah, at the end of the day, life usually isn’t “over”…it just changes. I suppose the underlying trait here is “Hope”. No matter how bad life gets, you just have to have “Hope”. It’s easy for me; there was a night a little over thirty years ago that I hit the ultimate Rock Bottom… I was sick with an incurable cancer and it was bad. My white cell count was dropping and they didn’t figure I’d see the light of day… BUT, I did. Since that day, we’ve never looked back. One day at a time, but always up. Now, I’m a crooked faced little guy who can’t seem to conquer this thing called love, and has never been very good with money….but, I’m alive…and that beats the alternative!!!

I dunno, guys, I dunno if there’s something useful in this for you or not. But, I hope so. I hope that I can rub off my “positivity” on you. If you read this and you think you’re at Rock Bottom, call me. Let me see if I can’t help you find a solution for change…

Life isn’t always Rainbows & Unicorns, but it’s not about the destination…it’s about the journey!!!

I’ll finish with a quote from Miley Cyrus:
“But..I…I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head up high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb…”

Wow, she’s hot…is she legal yet?!? LOL…

That’s all I’ve got; I hope it helps. Just remember:
“The best part about Rock Bottom is that it only goes up from here…”
— Dave Dusick

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