When Life Punches You in the Face
Overcoming Setbacks

I used to own three houses and two apartments with a combined value of about $2.2M. Today, they'd be worth around $8M.

But I lost them. All of them.

I also lived in a nice house in a good suburb with a wife and two beautiful girls. We had a good sized yard, a pool and a lovely kitchen – hand-crafted by an immensely talented heroin addict.

Life seemed pretty good… at least for a while.

When that fell apart, I lost everything that remained, and I wound up with no assets and $140k of debt.

After years of struggle and depression, I dragged myself back to a modicum of stability and happiness. I remarried, and I had another child. I found love, life and purpose again.

And this is where I am today. Things are back in order, and I'm grateful for everything I have.

Overcoming Setbacks - That Sick Feeling | Midlife Tribe

But a few days ago, I received a big punch in the face, and once again, old feelings resurfaced. It's not as life-threatening this time around, but it's just as unsettling. It's that nausea you feel when you're hovering over a toilet bowl.

So I find myself questioning things again. Where did I screw up? Did I screw up? How could I have allowed someone I've known for 18 years do this?

I know I haven't explained exactly what's happened – and I can't just yet. But years ago, my mother was let go from a legal firm – her boss citing insufficient work. A month later, she returned to collect one of her belongings and discovered a younger model sitting in her place…

This isn't what's happened to me, but it sure feels like it.

And so I'm faced with the challenge of redirecting my focus and putting out a fire I never anticipated. I'm sure you've been here, too. Life is what happens when we're making other plans, and this is a perfect case in point.

Luckily for me, I have a couple of terrific friends and mentors. And I have a supportive wife who believes in me.

So I shouldn't complain. Instead, I should tell you how I'm dealing with it.

First, I gave myself two days to absorb the news. I didn't bitch and moan to a dozen people. I haven't even told my folks, yet. Why make them worry?

Second, I shared my news with a couple of my closest friends – the ones who offer intelligent and constructive support, and they've been wonderful. I don't need sympathy; I need empathy and ideas.

And third, I wrote down everything I could think of about this conundrum to get it out of my head and quell the circular thinking so typical in these situations.

Instead of dulling the senses with booze (like I did after my divorce), I'm taking a proactive approach. I've planned my response and set countermeasures in place.

I've crafted a list of things I can do to mitigate the impact, and laid out some alternative paths to follow. And I've given a lot more thought to how I'd like my life to look in this new paradigm. As one of my friends said, “This could be the silver lining you've been waiting for.”

And so, dear reader, don't think I'm immune from the sh*t meeting the fan. None of us is.

I mightn't be a millionaire anymore (for now, at least), but I have my family, my friends, and sufficient intellect to carry on. And I have the slightest feeling that this might be exactly the challenge I needed to level up my game.

More than ever, I maintain that this is the best time in history to face this kind of problem. Twenty years ago, this would have been far worse.

So now I'd like to ask you something. Have you faced a major setback recently? If you have, I would love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comments below, and perhaps together, we can chart a course for better days ahead.

As always, I appreciate you being here. I mightn't hear from you directly, but you're here and you're reading this, so thank you.

PS. If you want a nice simple guide to mastering your midlife, get my free guide here. I created it just for you.

Don't ever think you're immune from the sh*t meeting the fan. No one is. Click To Tweet

Recommended Books

Tribe of Mentors – by Tim Ferriss
Everything That Remains – by The Minimalists
The Art of Non-Conformity – by Chris Guillebeau
Choose Yourself – by James Altucher
The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

Related Articles

Decisions That Changed My Life
Midlife Crisis or Chance to Reinvent Yourself?
Why Working From Home has Made all the Difference
It’s time you decided what you REALLY want.
How it Feels to Live on Your Own Terms

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Also published on Medium.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Karin Lederer

    Oh honey, I’m so angry for you. Shitful!! I’m here for you, always. xxx

    • Peter Fritz

      Thanks, luv. You’re the best.

  • Andrew L. Hicks

    Peter, I love the gracious way of handling whatever you are going through. I do not know the specifics, but I have also had a troublesome path recently.

    I just wanted to say I love you, and you can count on me to help you with any problems you bring to the table.

    • Peter Fritz

      You’re one unique creature, Andrew. That’s why I was drawn to your work (or your way of thinking) so instantaneously. Thanks, mate – and I hope your sh*t gets sorted soon, too.

  • Shoshanah Dietz

    Peter – Sorry that you’re going through rough times. Been there, more than once. Most recently, I left a decent-paying job because the company was treating employees so poorly. I thought I could return to a previous career. Less money, sure, but more satisfying. Hopes dashed. That career has changed dramatically and not for the better. I was stressed, working a ton of hours, and my health began to suffer. I quit a job for the second time in a year! There are times when I’m sad, relieved, anxious, and calm all in the same day. I’m generally an optimistic person but at times, I feel a bit panicky about finding a job (and just as important here in the U.S., health benefits). Then I rebound. My sister reminds me that I’ve always managed to find a job, house, etc., in the past and I will again. A friend going through a similar situation encourages me and says we’ll both figure it out. Our paths are sometimes bumpy, but eventually the road gets smooth again. For me. For my friend. For you. Good luck getting over the bumps!

    • Peter Fritz

      Shoshanah – I think you truly ‘get’ this. I can relate to everything you’ve just said. Luckily for me, I’ve been a lifelong side-hustler, so I can always divert more of my energy to other projects and other clients. But the scale of this bump came completely out of the blue, so it’ll take some time to counteract its impact.

      Thank you for weighing in here and sharing your own experience. Just curious – do you have anything on the side so that you’re not 100% dependent on a job? If not, I’d recommend looking into it.

  • Shel

    So good. Best advice for when sh*t does hit the fan, cause it will. I adore your honesty and openness. I’m glad you are feeling confident in your ability to see your way through. Always here friend, if you need empathy, shoulder or ideas. I’m quite good with the brain dumping! Sending you oodles of hugs across the big blue

    • Peter Fritz

      Thank you, Shel. You’ve been wonderfully supportive since the very beginning, and I always appreciate your words, wherever I find them. xx

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