At Some Point It’s All Going To Go South. Here’s how you Get It Back.


I just watched The Martian, which is one of the finest movies I’ve seen in awhile. It was rough hearing Bowie sing “Starman” and to find that I still miss him tremendously. I had “Ground Control to Major Tom” going through my head just as on the day we heard he’d left earth’s atmosphere for the last time. It’s still rough for folks in my cohort to realize — even though Bowie was 15–20 years older than most of us — that our numbers are starting to thin. With some of the best and brightest going first to blaze a trail. Heavy realization. But one we’ll cope with.

Returning to the point, the plot, acting and conclusion to The Martian were brilliant. I want to share a quote with you from it, which is a huge lesson and takeaway for us all. In it, the main character is talking about how space is uncooperative — just like life, and all the negative circumstances we encounter in it.

“At some point, everything’s going to go south on you and you’re going to say ‘this is it, this is how I end’. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem, you solve the next, and if you solve enough problems you get to come home.”

When I spent a decade in and out of bed, learning to walk again after paraplegia, I first solved the problem of moving my pinky toe. And then the foot, the ankle and all the rest. I began, and kept on solving problems until I “came home” to being fully mobile. It took most of that decade to do, but I did it. I didn’t really have a choice. I could do no less than try. And while there were energy therapies that helped me reconnect damaged nerves and quell pain, there was no free pass, no miracle cure – just putting one foot in front of the other.


When I created then sold one company, then created and sundowned another, I wondered after each one what I was going to do now. While others congratulated me and said they wished they had my ladyballs, I felt small, scared and terribly unprepared. And when I realized that two life partners had changed into people I no longer wanted to live with and decided to leave, I wondered how I was going to go forward.

I took a simple step, and then another. I collated lists of problems, played Whack-a-Mole and solved them. I moved out of a toxic relationship into my own place and realized a great deal of freedom and control had returned to my life. I created another company that supports me and helps women worldwide to live their lives in freedom, joyfully rocking their weirdest (eg; most awesome) and wildest gifts, while supporting causes that speak to their hearts. I curated a new and deeply nourishing social circle, becoming happy and connected to what gives me purpose and joy again.

How do you recover when your entire life goes south? You get to work. You begin again. This might take work, it might leave marks on your body, mind and soul, but it’s worth it.

Homework for those who are Starting Over:

Do you have what it takes to begin again? Exactly what WILL it take for you NOT to throw in the towel?

Given your situation, how would you start? What piece of it would you start with?

What materials and resources (both inner and outer) do you need to succeed?

Let me know in the comments. If I can help, I will.

Maryam for Medium Author BoxI’m Maryam Webster, and I help passionately opinionated women create juicy and profitable second lives beyond corporate careers, divorce & “empty nest syndrome” by mentoring them to rock their most awesome, fulfilling gifts to create an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on the planet.
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