Guest Post: Everybody’s Got Something by Jodi Brandon

No one’s life is perfect. Everybody’s got something. But if we understand who we are – who we really are – we know what matters to us and how we want to live our life. That makes it easier to face those “somethings.” Context matters here. Sometimes those somethings are small. Sometimes they are bigger obstacles than we ever imagined. Sometimes they are small but feel enormous in the moment. The point is: My something is not your something. Your something is not your best friend’s something or your spouse’s something or your colleague’s something. But whatever that something is, it matters to you, and we need to be ready for the big somethings as best we can. We can’t prevent them, but we can prepare to deal with them.

Almost five years ago, my mom died. The last several months of her life were pretty awful, frankly. She had a rare and aggressive type of neuroendocrine cancer. It’s a type that doesn’t go into remission, and on average patients live 12 weeks from diagnosis. We were lucky: We got two years with her. And I had the luxury – the privilege, really – of taking a sabbatical from my business to be her primary caretaker: going to appointments and radiation and chemo and bloodwork and all that comes with cancer care, like keeping my siblings who aren’t local updated, coordinating with my local siblings and family members to make sure her house got cleaned and healthy meals were in the fridge and someone was there to help her get up and down the stairs each morning and evening. Managing care is a fulll-time job, and my family was lucky that one of us was in a position to do take on that role. But whew, it was hard. I was exhausted. 

I found, during this time, that no one in my life – not friends, not family members, not even my husband sometimes – wanted me to feel like they were complaining about something in their life. When I asked what was new with them, how work was, or whatever, the answer almost always included some form of “but that’s nothing compared to what you’re going through.” Says who? Was my mom’s cancer a bigger deal than someone’s wife getting laid off? For me, sure. But for my friend and her wife, no way. That was their something. And it was a huge deal in their house, because they didn’t know that the wife’s dream job was around the corner, two months later. 

In the grand scheme of life, sure, my mom dying was a bigger deal than someone getting cut off in traffic or shattering their phone screen. But to those people in those moments, that was their something. 

Those two years absolutely sucked. But I know they were easier to deal with because I know who I am as a person and know what matters most to me. It was easy to make the decision to step back from my business, because I knew our time with Mom was limited. I knew my business would be there when I was ready and able to return. 

Life is messy, but we can equip ourselves to make it a little less messy – and maybe even a little easier when it does get messy. Not easy, but easier. We decide how we deal with our somethings, and we do it by knowing ourselves and having our priorities in order.