There are times when life throws everything it has at us, when our strength is tested and when our connection to our purpose in life falters. What do you do when that happens?

In this Own Up Grown-Up podcast episode, Miles Garvey talks us through the toughest time in his life and how he’s pulled himself back up again.

Being around people is the solution. Don’t be alone and dwell on your own sadness…once you’re around people it’s the energy that’s around you that builds you back up.”—Miles Garvey

As Miles’s dad said, “you want to make god laugh, you tell him your future plans.” Nothing ever seems to go exactly as we picture it. That’s life. If life was predictably perfect, you might think how easy and great it would be, but I think we’d all feel stuck. Life isn’t meant to be perfect and while it would certainly be nice if it was easier sometimes, your job is deal with the cards you’ve been dealt.

And that’s where life gets interesting.

When you hit rock bottom, whatever that is for you, it’s time to step back and rediscover what your life goals were in the beginning. Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe you’re just getting closer to what it is you’re meant to do in this life. You might call it time to discover your purpose.

Miles could have listened to friends and family members from his home state of Minnesota, moved back and tried to restart his life like it had been there before he came to Canada. For most of us, the death of a parent and a divorce would be enough for us to give into the desire to go back in time. Instead, he stayed and he reached out to people, and he worked through it—still is working through it.

Don’t go it alone

I loathe putting my pain on other people, meaning I hate to talk about the shitty stuff going on in my life, because I don’t want to burden people. But, I really admire people that can get things off their chest in a way that doesn’t necessarily transfer the pain, but throws it back into the air or wherever it came from. It’s a discussion instead of a complaint.

Don’t suffer in solitude. While your first instinct might be to run for the hills and hide in a cave to sort your feelings out, you might just end up crazy and with moss growing in your hair. As psychotherapist Sean Grover wrote in a Psychology Today article:

Being alone is part of healing, but long periods of isolation are unhealthy. Deep pain always brings out personal demons, such as blaming yourself, embracing victimhood or bitterness. Such choices breed entrapment, not freedom. Reach out to friends, find support groups or twelve step programs, seek comfort in prayer, meditation or philosophy—whatever brings you peace of mind. Instead of longing for a miracle, create one.”

Find something to look forward to

For Miles, helping a friend care for his child and starting a business provided some inspiration to find direction. What do you have in your life that you can look forward to or use to inspire you? You might already have something or someone in your life that can provide this.

Life is messy. What you choose to do with that mess (like making lemonade out of lemons) is entirely up to you.

Check out next week’s podcast episode and blog, where you’ll learn more about Miles’s exciting new venture, Swapitti. For now, follow the project on Twitter.