Learning to Love the Ticking

Advice from a cosmonaut

COVID-19, social distancing, safety, Peter Shankman, depression

I've been silent these past few weeks, and full disclosure, it's because it's been a tough few weeks for me. NYC keeps going to hell, the virus shows no signs of slowing down, I miss being on a plane more than I can explain... Put it all together, and I've been skating around the edges of depression just a little bit closer than I'd like.

Over the weekend, my trainer noticed. I was doing the bare minimum on each workout, and it was pretty obvious. So after I finished a set, he stopped me and told me a story about a Russian cosmonaut.

Seems that in the early years of space exploration, there was a cosmonaut orbiting the earth. He was witnessing the curvature of the earth out of the porthole window, and he was amazed. But as he was taking it all in, he heard a faint ticking sound coming from somewhere inside the capsule. He searched and searched for the source, but to no avail. He tried ignoring it, but every time he'd look out the window, his view was marred by that annoying "tick, tick, tick."

The story goes that the cosmonaut realized he had two choices: He'd be in space for 96 hours, and the ticking wasn't going to stop. He explained that he learned to love the sound. After a few hours, he realized that he could learn to love the sound, or he could let it drive him mad. 

So he learned to love it. The sound became beautiful music, a symphony in his head that accompanied the beautiful scene he was seeing below him. It proved he was still alive, and able to appreciate the amazing things he was currently doing, hundreds of miles above the earth.

My trainer said maybe that was how I had to look at what was going on in the world. 

We can't control the virus right now. We can't control the stupidity of other people. But we can learn to love what we have right now. I have more time with my daughter. I have more time to improve myself. I have more time to slow down and take it all in. At some point soon, I won't have that time again. So for now, perhaps I can learn to love my current environment. I'm able to work out. I'm able to come up with new ideas. I'm able to help others. Perhaps, for now, that's enough.

It changed how I see things just a little bit, and this morning, I had one of the best workouts of my life. I hope it changes the way you see things, as well.

Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, an author and a trainer living in New York City. He is a stay at home dad as well.

If you're looking for that special gift this holiday season for someone in your life who has ADD, ADHD, or any kind of neurodiverse brain, how about a conversation with me? I've finally been convinced to join Cameo, where you can request videos, shout-outs, birthday greetings, even a one-on-one talk about how ADHD is a superpower! You can find me on Cameo here!

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