Stay Present. Here’s how to figure out what’s next…

written by john c ashworth

john and carl ashworth gradutation
My son Carl and I following graduation from Madison Country Day School in Waunakee, WI

Here's how to figure out what's next.

Slowly, I'm gettin back on track. Following an emotional roller-coaster of a week last week, I'm carefully rising out of the fog the experience left me in.

Here's a little context…

My son graduated from high-school. The day before, my daughter, only a freshman, qualified for the state track meet here in Wisconsin in the 100m hurdles. My Mom, who I have not seen for three years was in town, along with a smattering of family from both my wife's and my side of the family. Many of whom slept under our roof for multiple days in a row. Some of them in my room. I slept in the man cave.

Usually, I would spend the typical weekend crafting content for The Ash Flash. This was no typical weekend. So instead, I harnessed all my energy and focus and worked hard to keep my emotions as consistent as possible to prevent a complete melt-down.

I'm happy to report that I did prevent a melt-down and that overall, things went pretty darn well. Though I still feel badly about ribbing my son and his friend yesterday about their refusal to take a shower and clean-up properly following a late afternoon run. We had just finished cleaning the basement and their lack of attention to this seemingly small detail, was almost enough to set me off. Still, I kept my cool and apologized quickly for my grumpiness.

The point is that as you might imagine, this was a week full of distraction, emotion, and hidden challenges and agendas. I knew it would be, but there is really no way to be totally ready. I took some time off work to compensate and I'm glad that I did, but getting back to work today was awash in slugishness.

The experience also left me groping for words and the location of my creative mojo. I NEVER have a hard time sitting down to write and create. I mean NEVER. Usually, I live with the reality that at least right now in my life, there simply is not enough time and energy in a day for me to properly channel this energy. I live with that somewhat peacefully for the moment.

Yesterday, for the first time maybe ever, I could literally think of nothing to write about.'s getting better and here we are. I'm settling back in and starting to feel like myself again. I hope you didn't miss me too much.

Still, I grope for a useful point to this story. One you can take away yourself and use to your advantage. Maybe you've had a similar experience this weekend, I don't know. Regardless, we all end up here from time to time. And that's OK. I had a terrific week as a Dad, husband, brother, son, and dreamer of big dreams. Not just for me, but for everyone I love. You too, of course. That's why I'm here.

So, as we near the end of this day and this post I will leave you with this…

Stay present. No matter the circumstances. Don't run away from difficult things. And when the highs come and your emotions have the potential of getting the better of you, take some time to remember that you're human. Take some time to place your feet firmly on the ground, staying present with each moment as it passes, and allow yourself to fully experience those emotions and then let them go before they snarl you like a fishing net.

Don't ask too much of yourself during these times. Like that free-fall on the roller-coaster at the amusement park, the main thing is to remember to put your seat-belt on, hold on and breathe. Remember that when you pass over the peak of that climb, and begin to drop, there is really nothing else you can do. Nothing else you can do but hold on until you reach the bottom again and take a sharp turn into the next experience.

Don't be too hard on yourself and certainly not on those around you. Eventually, you'll pull back into the gate and exit to the left. A little dizzy maybe, but your feet firmly back on the ground again.

All of this reminds me of a phrase I heard long ago that has helped me immensely in my own life…

"If you can't get out of it, get into it."

And then when it's over, get back into your routine and get back on track. But do it consciously, because your perspective will have changed, no doubt. And it is VERY important to honor that, and ACT on it when needed.

My son provided a stunning example of this on Sunday when he went back to work.

He sent me a text that read,

'I'm bored. Now that I've graduated, I'm ready to move on from this job.'

"Good!" I responded.

"What's next?"


About the Author
John Ashworth is an empathetic sales leader with an incredibly diverse background as a salesman, business consultant, marketing maniac, writer, Dad and full time Bohemian Athlete. aka Johnny Renaissance.

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