We’ll Make It Work

Show some f#*%ing adaptability.

The title of this post comes from my wife. I’d more likely say, We’ll Figure It Out, but that’s very different. Sometimes you do need to figure things out, but more often you have to take them as they are and Make It Work.

We’ll Make It Work. This phrase, her way of thinking about problems essentially, is the only reason we’re still out here.

Broken down in the high desert of California? We’ll make it work. Lost my income right after moving to Mexico? We’ll make it work. Blown a head gasket in the middle of nowhere Colorado? We’ll make it work. Brakes failing? We’ll make it work. Brand new Jeep dead? We’ll make it work. World ending in a rain of fire? We’ll make it work.

I never really thought much about this attitude until recently when it started to come up a lot as we contemplate some big changes in our lives. I would raise potential objections to plans, and Corrinne would shrug and say “we’ll make it work.” Other times she would say, “how the #%$& are we going to do that?” And I’d shrug and say “we’ll figure it out.” It works both ways, we complement each other in this regard. Things I worry about she does not. And things she worries about don’t even cross my mind until she asks about them.

And then we each shrug at the other. We’ll make it work.

This I realized is what makes us able to do this. We’re not rich. We’re not all that smart. We’re not particularly skilled. But we’re willing to do whatever is necessary to make things work.

Sometimes that means sacrifices are made. Sometimes that means working really hard. Sometimes that means letting go of preconceived ideas. Sometimes it means really accepting that something has happened. You’d be surprised at how far accepting the reality of your situation goes toward getting you out of it. There is no cavalry, the sooner you accept where you are, the sooner you’ll get going again.

Sometimes making it work might mean coming up with a new plan. It might mean you don’t make it out west one year. It might mean you spend some extra time in California. It might mean you camp in a mechanic’s driveway from time to time.

I am very leery of the word compromise. The way most people use this word it seems to me means “mutual defeat by concession.” No one gets what they want, no one is happy. That’s no way to live. If you’re compromising by making concessions, you’re doing it wrong.

A good compromise is when you say yes to everything, even to things you don’t necessarily want to do. Sure, we’ll go over here to the Biggest Week in America Birding and we’ll also go over here to the diamond mines. We’ll cross this bridge, but we’ll also cross this other one even though I might want to avoid the second one. Doesn’t matter what I want. Make it work. Everyone gets what they want. Are there times when that’s not possible? Sure, but we’ll make it work.

What We’ll Make It Work always means, more than anything else, is being flexible and fluid in your thinking and actions. It means not clinging to preconceived ideas when it turns out the facts on the ground are different. Making it work might mean you need rethink the path to your goals.

We’ll make it work does not mean it’s going to be easy. That’s okay, the easy way is rarely the way. The internet loves to make memes of Bruce Lee’s dictum, be like water1, but few people think this all way through. Sure, water flows, water carves canyons with its patience, but water also doesn’t only goes on its path. It never stays where it is and it never takes a route that it is not meant to go. Some routes that it does take mean it smashes into rocks and is pulverized until it becomes mist, barely water at all anymore. Then it slowly falls back, becomes flowing water again, but is different somehow, changed in unaccountable ways. You want to be like water? Be prepared for the world to turn you into mist at times. Make that work.

Above all else, We’ll Make It Work means that you have to have faith in yourself and whomever else you’re with that you can make it work. You have to know it in your bones. You can (and should!) second guess yourself on the particulars of making things work, but know that you can. Everyone can. It just takes faith and discipline. Learn to make your own choices and craft your own life. Commit to making it work and you will find a way to make it work.

  1. I could write thousands of words unpacking this simple idea, because there is so much here, but I will spare you. 


Please leave a reply:

All comments are moderated, so you won’t see it right away. And please remember Kurt Vonnegut's rule: “god damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” You can use Markdown or HTML to format your comments. The allowed tags are <b>, <i>, <em>, <strong>, <a>. To create a new paragraph hit return twice.