7 Things I Think About When I’m Feeling Down

Life is hard. Even when life is good, it’s still hard. You can never prepare for all the things that could happen. I’ve had my share of bad things happen in my day. Some people are struggling much more than me. I know this. I lead a cupcake life when it comes right down to it. I know that, and I appreciate it. I’m fortunate, and I am lucky, but I also hustle and work hard.

It’s late as I write this. It’s almost 1 am, but I’m determined to do something with this energy. I had a pretty deep talk with a friend of mine. I shared some stuff that I’ve been dealing with lately. Their response was “Wow, that’s a lot of stuff. Maybe you should see someone about all that.” My friend isn’t wrong. The response isn’t quite what I expected and it took me off guard. The last couple of years have been bumpy to say the least. That much is true.

Again, life isn’t easy. A lot of things happen beyond our control, and sometimes we drop the ball on the stuff that we can control. During those tough times, when self-doubt can just wreck a person, it’s important to try to remain positive. That is something I had struggled with a lot, especially when I was younger.

I’m going to share a few things about continuing to grind well after you’ve been beaten down. Before you read on, I think it’s important also to know when done is done. There’s no shame in knowing when you’re done. That’s it for my PSA on being done, folks. So, let’s grind on!

Keep grinding.

Success is not the absence of failure. Success is persistence through failure. — Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler recently did an AMA—go on and read it—and she talks about hustle and about working hard to get to where you want to go. That quote about success? Amazing. I celebrated year two of being on my own, running my own business. There have been ups and downs. I wanted to quit. But I persist. I continue because not only do I believe that I can move forward, but other people believe I can, too. Keep going until you just can’t. Perhaps that’s irresponsible of me to suggest, but it’s been a guiding principle since venturing out on my own.

Just do the thing.


Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing. — Ron “f*cking” Swanson

It was this episode of Parks and Rec that made me decide to give notice and leave my day job to strike out on my own. Moonlighting and doing a full-time job were both taking a toll. I wasn’t doing great at either, and I knew it. Everyone knew it. I knew that I had to “whole-ass” one thing or the other, so I picked a thing and “whole-assed” it.

Everyone’s mileage varies, but this was a truth I needed to follow to get to where I wanted to be.

Don’t fear the opportunity to fail.

There is freedom in being at your lowest – there is nowhere to go but up. Have fun with it – try new things, and allow new possibilities that you haven’t considered or been open to before. And maybe put your troubles aside and take an afternoon to do whatever makes you happy. — Judi Young, Young Digital

^^ This exactly! I know a few people who get down on themselves when they mess up. I happen to be one such person. I can honestly say I’ve never taken the above to heart, but I think I will going forward. Raise your hand if you’re your own worst critic.

One of my good friends used to be one of my managers at my first job when I moved away from home. He taught me a valuable concept about managing people. Maybe you’ll agree with it; maybe you won’t; but here it is: He said, “I think it’s important to give people the opportunity to fail. You learn a lot more by fucking up than you do when you do something right all the time.” I don’t think he came up with that concept, but it’s a core part of who he is, it’s his parable. Failure is inseparably tied to success, just like the sun and the moon, light and dark.

If you’re going to fail, fail big and then learn your lessons and maybe do something differently you wouldn’t otherwise do.

Someone who believes in you.

There is an entire world of people telling you that you’re crazy. Find the ones who don’t.

One of those times I was ready to quit I was in bed, at my girlfriend’s place. I was staring up at the ceiling, and my mind was spinning and spinning. I had a lot of uncertainty about my immediate future. My partner woke from her sleep and asked me if I was okay. I replied that I was done. I was calling it quits. She yawned and asked: “Are you breaking up with me?” I chuckled and said, “No, no. I think I’m going to quit running my shop. I suck at this.” At that moment, she reached over and wiped the tear that was forming and told me that she believed in me. I asked her if she meant it or if she was just trying to console me. She said “fuck yeah, Vasquez. I know you can do it.” I heaved a heavy sigh and said: “Okay, I’m gonna do it.”

It was that moment that I decided failure was not an option that I would push ahead.

Doing the hard things.

If you’re coasting through life you’re going down hill. —Mehrdad Modjtahedi

Mehrdad is a good buddy of mine. One of the funniest people I know, he’s a hoot! He said this to me once, ages ago. It’s something I’ve carried with me ever since.

Progress is hard. I think of one of my friends, Kimberly Leos. She has three kids, a job as a Nurse, and is going to school to become a physician’s assistant. Whaaaat??? That, my friends, is a lot of juggling. Now, she has a great guy who supports her through the madness, and that’s great. But she feels like she’s just burning the candle at both ends every day. I tell her that it won’t last, that it will be over before she knows it.

What she’s doing is pretty damned great and inspirational. I don’t think I could do what she’s doing. Progress isn’t easy; it’s hard.

“It’s not how far or how fast you run, it’s about who you run with…”

I started running just over four years ago. It is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I started by running a 5k, then a 10k, then a half, and then two marathons and still running strong. Life is hard; training is hard. It wasn’t just my story that mattered, though. It was also about those people running with me, doing the hard stuff, training, aching and agonizing and ultimately crossing that finish line with me. I never thought I would run a marathon, but having friends at my side, we staggered acrossed finish line after  finish line and accomplished so much more than just running a marathon…

One final thought

Just know this, we’re all champions. Yes, my friends, we are.

Listen to We are the Champions by mother effing Queen. Just do it. Sing it, yell it, tell the world about it! Why? Because it’s the truth, dammit! Don’t be ashamed to put the world on notice!

Photo Cred: IMDB

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