What you make of it

A number of factors lately (reading Flow, sighingly putting the whole K affair behind me, working with a client whose anger and sense that the world is against him seem to be the driving forces in his life, etc.) have increased my belief in the idea that, to a large extent, life is what you make of it.

That's an overly simplistic statement, to be sure, and you're free to lob at it whatever critical words you see fit, but in the end, it holds. There are so many things that are wildly beyond our control in life that in order to live with any sense of balance, purpose, and resilience, we really have to learn how to dust off our knees after a fall and get up again.

I spent a good chunk of the needs assessment I did with my client last night refuting (gently and constructively) his outright and implied claims that he's something of a helpless victim of the vagaries of his week. Normally, I don't go quite so heavy on the philosophical debating with clients, but this time I did--maybe because I was tired and my usual sense of restraint fell by the wayside, but more likely because any other recommendation I might make to him would be useless if he didn't let go of the world-against-me thing he seemed to be holding like a shield. I so strongly wanted him to start to understand that he has so much more power than he thinks he does to change what chafes.

At some point, I'm sure, I'll have to refer myself back to this post when I'm feeling like the rug's been pulled out from under me for the millionth time, or when I stumble upon a week filled with too many little glitches to deal with calmly and smoothly. But since last Thursday, when I officially watched something I'd been enjoying so much slip through my fingers, I've been more aware than ever that I can choose what to do here: flail and fight and rue what's wrong or get up and go on and find what's right.

I don't even have to think twice about it.