“to the second bridge and back, and the one who makes it here first wins”
I grew up watching Grease (if you couldn’t guess) and by the time I was 7, I would watch it, rewind the video, watch it again, rewind, watch it again, repeat, to the point I drove my Mum mad because as much as she loved the film, I would quote along with the film, or say the line just before whoever was on the screen.
I knew that “a hickey from Kenickie’s like a Hallmark card” before I even knew what a hickey, or a Hallmark card was. They only care enough to send the very best.
She actually banned me from watching it for a little while, but I still know the script by heart all these years later, and I still quote it randomly at her (sorry, Mum)
But I never thought, in my childhood, that I’d be quoting Leo (“Hey, Craterface!”) of The Scorpions as someone who taught me a valuable lesson. I never liked him much as a kid, he’s a jerk.
Buuuut… “the rules are, there ain’t no rules.”
I mean, there are rules, obviously, but only if you choose there to be.
“whoever makes it here first wins” are pretty decent rules if you ask me, but if you take the car race out of it for a few, then where is “here”?
I suppose in this real life, here and now scenario, “here” is wherever you wanna end up.
There is no “second bridge” in the literal sense of “here”, but how many times have we said/heard “oh, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!” it’s usually related to some far off problem, or issue that might crop up.
Maybe you’re already at the second bridge and you’re just getting ready to head to the winning line.
What could the “bridges” be?
- a life event
- losing someone/something
- having a baby
- starting/ending a relationship (romantic or otherwise)
- really taking stock of your financial situation (and it being dire)
- ill health
- realising you hate the day job
- having a “fuck this shit” moment on everything in your life as you look around and realise you’d be happy to just burn it all down and start over
There are so many things that we could do in this situation.
So many “bridges” we could cross… but what are the rules for crossing them?
Is there an actual need for these rules? Or can we just put the pedal to the metal, ride it out and see what happens?
I quite like that idea.
I’ve never really enjoyed rules.
I’ve never managed to get into the swing of things when I’ve had to plan, or think about things too much.
It’s like writing… it’s something I do just “like that” on a whim. I tried to plan it out, I used a great prompt list for all the different types of peices I could write. Had a spreadsheet full of potential pieces based on what I wanted to talk about, and I wrote precisely none of them. Zero. Not even one.
I wrote the title of a couple along with some quick notes to try and get me started, but they didn’t work. They never got beyond that (I may still have a couple floating around in my Drafts folder in Evernote; they’ll never go much further than that, except to the trash)
But this? This I’m writing.
Why? Because the quote popped in my head, this time from Grease, sometimes it’s a song lyric, sometimes it’s something I’ve overheard, or has come up in conversation… but there are no rules.
I’m not watching my wordcount; even in high school “concise” meant nothing to me (a 12-page essay on Macbeth Act 1 Scene 7 anyone? Just me? OK then…)
I like to write. In fact, I’ve written for about 4 hours so far today, blogs, emails, journalling, random ideas in notebooks… why? I’m a writer. That’s a part of who I am, and it’s a part I’ve ignored for so long.
“But you can’t just have “writer” as your business!!”
Do you know how many writers there are in the world?
Authors? Journalists? Bloggers? Copywriters? anyone who strings words together in written form is a writer, and I can write whatever and however I like. That’s just how it is.
“The rules are, there ain’t no rules”
And what about everything else that we do in life?
Parenting, friendships, relationships, how we dress, what we eat, how we interact with strangers on the street…
There are laws, set in place to guide us, protect us. Health and safety precautions (which, in my opinion, are getting a little out of hand in some areas) – those kinds of rules. The ones that keep us safe.
But lets face it, a lot of them are common sense, and decency.
Those aren’t the rules I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the how, the when, the where, the what that is put upon us by some social construct that tries to dictate and control us in some weird, obscure unhelpful way.
You have to follow this path..
You have to do this thing first…
You can only have this when you’ve done that…
Those kinda rules.
“the rules are, there ain’t no rules…”
They’re bullshit that’s been made up by someone who went through the process of getting something then deciding that “HEY! in order to get to here, you have to go through there” and if anyone else dare say there’s another way then damn them, they’re wrong.
It’s like following the longest route on a roadmap just because someone didn’t realise there was a direct path from a to b that didn’t go 20 miles out of the way.
So what are we taught?
That we should go to school, then college, then university, then get a job.
Meet the love of your life (or the month), settle down, get a house, get married, have kids…
Well, I got the kids before the house, never got married, and kicked the guy out years ago… I’m still doing OK. Nothing’s imploded yet, and no ones died. So that rules bullshit.
I went to school, then to college, dropped out of college, got a job, then another (and another) went back to college, then to uni, then quit again before starting my own business. Oh, and the kids? The first came during job number 2, and the 2nd 2 months into starting Uni. So I screwed those rules up too…
So what other “rules” are there that are a complete and utter waste of time and energy?
Oh… paying your dues; gradual increase in wages/income; needing to study/qualify in a million professions that don’t even need qualifications; memorising Pythagorean Theorum (I still haven’t used that passed (past?) my GCSE paper in 2002!); needing to prove your worth/merit; have validation from an outside source; following the “proven paths to success”; all the marketing tips and tricks (there are so many Online Marketers calling themselves Business Coaches, that business coaching should probably think up a new name); that you need to do one thing in order to be successful; that you need a certain amount of money/stuff to be happy; that you need to act a certain way; look a certain way; speak/write a certain way; think a certain way; behave a certain way; work your ass into the ground to make things happen in your life; that you should suck it up doing whatever it takes so you can live on weekends; be grateful for 12 paychecks a year that keep you broke, or barely scraping by, and the 4 weeks a year you get to have off work (hooray!); how about paying off debts gradually; not being able to have savings while you’re in debt; needing to have your shit together before you can have the business/success/income/house/car/insert whatever else here (newsflash: NO ONE has their shit together that well!)
What other rules are there?
Fuck, I could go on forever! (oh, there’s another one; don’t swear. It’s unprofessional and unbecoming, and unsomethingelsemynanusedtosay-ladylike-that’s the one.)
“The rules are, there ain’t no rules.”
Fuck the rules!
You wanna win, go there and back and see what happens.
See if you win.
Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, maybe someone will try and push you off the road and trash your car, but you know what, you’ll be fine, cos you’ll keep aiming for where you need to be, and you’ll get there. (You know you’re Danny Zuko now, right?) And they’ll probably be so focused on throwing you off course that they won’t even notice they’re wrecking their own race until they hit a wall.
So what the hell am I trying to say? What am I getting at, and what’s with this weird lesson from Thunder Road?
Focus on where you need to be.
Focus on winning your own race.
Focus on doing it your own way.
Don’t worry about what the others are doing.
“the rules are, there ain’t no rules”
You’re the only person racing you… are you really going to throw yourself off by following some “rules” or shoving your own car (life) off the road to try and avoid getting there faster?
“the one who makes it here first wins”
That’s your own fear taunting you… calling you out to see how fast you’re willing to get there.
Are you going to let fear, doubt, uncertainty, any of the bullshit rules I listed above stop you from getting there?
Cos those things, they will wreck your ride, and if you let it, you’ll never ride off into the sky with “a whop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-whop-bam-boom!”
And that sucks.
I get it. We’ve all been there, so let’s sort this shit out
It sucks, right?
That shitty low feeling where you just feel down, deflated, pissed off with the world for no reason, and you’ve just had enough.
You’re not particularly angry, or sad, or maybe you are, maybe you’re just feeling “ugh!” (yes, that’s a real feeling) that kinda nothingness where you know something’s up, but you’re not quite sure what.
Well, how about we get right in there and sort that shit out?
This is my personal 5-Step Reset that I go through to get me from Feelin’ Like Shit to Rockin’ It!
I’m not saying it’ll be fun n easy, there’s no magic cure, but this works, every time.
I come back to this all the time, and I’ve shared it with my closest friends when they’re having a shitty day (or a week, or month, or however long) and it works for them too…
So how about it, are you done feelin’ like shit? Are you ready? Let’s go
Drop your details into the form, and I’m gonna send you over a quick audio that talks you through the 5 steps I take, that are going to help you go from
Feelin’ Like Shit to Rockin’ It!