24 Hours to Mourn

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that my grandfather played a pretty important role in my life. When he passed away I remember my mother saying that at some point he told her she gets 24 hours to mourn, then get back to it. I don’t know how that conversation came up, I don’t know the context, and to be honest I don’t remember exactly when she said it. It’s very much something he would say and I’ll be damned if that hasn’t stuck with me for the last ten years.

You see, my grandfather was a veteran, a hard worker, and an all around respected man. He did anything and everything to make sure that his friends and family were taken care of, and never asked for anything in return. If he cried, I never saw it. If he was afraid, he sure as hell hid it well from me. If he was tired, he never showed it. Sure he bitched about things every now and again, but to my memory, never dwelled on it. He knew life wasn’t fair sometimes and you’re responsible for taking what life gives you and making the best of it. A lesson he taught me often. A lesson I wouldn’t fully understand for quite some time.

He didn’t want any of us moping around using his passing as a reason not to live life. He also knew it was impossible for us not to be severely impacted. So we could cry, and mope, and dwell on the passing, but we sure as hell better get our shit together and get back to it. Now of course we weren’t “fine” after 24 hours, hell it’s been almost a decade and at random times I still break down, but we move forward. We try not to let that emotion skew rational thought… the best we can.

This concept has helped me many times over the years. The idea that yes, you are allowed to feel slighted, be angry, cry, be afraid, feel vulnerable. It’s natural. It’s insane to fight it. We are an emotional species. But to linger and let that emotion shut us down, or worse, use that emotion as an excuse for irrational decisions, it’s ludicrous. In fact, in most cases, it’s simply bullshit.

Bad things are going to happen. You’re going to be dealt a shitty hand at times. How you react to that will literally determine the rest of your life.

In his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” Mark Manson talks about the difference between fault and responsibility. To sum it up, the things that happen to you may not be your fault (though sometimes they may be) but what you do after and how you respond to them is completely your responsibility. You are actually in control of your life.

So when shit hits the fan, feel free to use a few four letter words or binge watch bad TV while drowning in a gallon of ice cream… for now. Tomorrow, you need to get back to it. You may not be your best. You may be wearing that pain, or anger, or fear, but you start moving again in the right direction. One small step at a time… but forward.

Train hard, stay safe, one love.

-aaron