Bumps Are the Road

Dec 17, 2022

I’ve had a pit in my stomach since winter began.

It’s been an intense sprint to finish a bunch of projects I’m juggling at once. Since my bout with burnout, I’ve been pretty careful about keeping my workload reasonable, but sometimes projects line up for a perfect storm.

I’m trying to finish line edits for my book before the end of year. I’ve also been working with a friend to build a new self-paced drawing course. And I’ve been sprinting to finish some features for a software project in my part-time startup job. On top of all that, I’ve been publishing my newsletter on a weekly cadence.

I’m enjoying all of these projects, and I’m really proud of all my progress, but it’s a lot to handle all at once. It’s taking all of my time management tricks to stay afloat, and all my inner growth work to stay sane.

I keep telling myself, When this project is done, I’ll finally be able to breathe.

I keep waiting to get to the other side.

But another part of me, a deeper intuition built on wisdom rather than knowledge, tells me that the other side will not bring long-lasting relief.

One project will finish, then another will begin.

One milestone will pass, then another will appear.

There’s always another thing. If we wait for life to become perfectly still, we spend our whole lives waiting.

And who wants a life of perfect stillness, anyway? We’re human beings, not idle stones. We thrive on activity, motion, and movement. Variety is the spice that reminds us we’re alive.

The problem is not our desire to do things. It’s our need to control everything that gets us into trouble.

We want to know exactly how it’s all going to go. But the more we try to control our lives, the more we suffer.

We try to domesticate ourselves. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are meant to be caged, controlled and perfectly predictable.

“We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.” —Pema Chödrön

We cannot control the chaos of life. But we can learn to embrace uncertainty.

As I write this, my mind drifts to Bodah the boulder, who appeared to me in the form of a short story. Bodah reminds me to embrace the bumps like a rolling boulder, rather than waiting to be still like a stone.

Bodah the boulder

Life isn’t meant to be spent waiting for a smooth ride.

What if we looked at life, not as a mission to avoid the bumps, but a challenge to embrace them? What if we followed the turbulent paths rather than evaded them?

In the end, we may look back and realize those weren’t bumps on the road.

The bumps are the road.

May we all find a way to smile and enjoy this rolling ride of life. We never know which bump will be our last.