Recently I was reminded of some sage words of wisdom my mom once (and repeatedly) imparted on me and that is that the first 24 hours are the hardest. While this isn’t always the case (two notable exceptions below), I was recently reminded of just how true that initial period is in our professional and personal lives. What’s this all about? Here’s the whole story…
The First 24 Hours…
When I was sixteen, my first boyfriend broke up with me in the front seat of my 1989 Mercury Topaz in the high school parking lot. I wasn’t devastated – that’s not an adjective I usually prescribe myself – but I was certainly shocked and sad.
I remember that night my mom told me that the first 24 hours were the hardest. Things would be looking up the next day after school.
Of course that wisdom didn’t take into account that he and I would end up at the same place for lunch the next day – me with my girlfriends and him with a girl we knew that he would soon start dating. (because I know you’re dying to know – he didn’t end up marrying her either!)
But lo and behold, by that 24 hour mark, life was starting to look up. The world was still turning.
In college, I imparted the same useful wisdom on my best friend and it soon became a running joke between us.
Thankfully I haven’t had to go through a breakup in quite some time. I recently had a criticism in work life, however, that really put a halt on my flow. I got frustrated and tried to deconstruct the criticism, just hoping it wouldn’t keep me up at some dumb hour in the middle of the night.
The thing that kept going through my head was that the first 24 hours were the hardest. Within a day, I’d start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Why are the first 24 hours so difficult?
I think when we have shocking or surprising news, we tend to go into defensive mode. Our minds either start hyper analyzing everything up to that point or we start trying to plan every future moment. Sometimes it’s a tumultuous combination of both. We hit overdrive and different scenarios play over and over again in our head.
And then about a day later, we start to shed thoughts that aren’t relevant; we start to prioritize the good thoughts we’ve had; and enough of our normal life has happened that we see that life will carry on.
When Doesn’t This Apply?
Speaking of my best friend and our running joke. When she told me she was pregnant (six month before we got pregnant), I had to tell her that unfortunately, I was pretty sure the first 24 hours would not be the hardest. I’m hilarious, I know! And, boy was I right about this one!
And then, of course, losing a loved one. As I shared in my post about losing a parent, the hard part doesn’t happen the first day, the first week, or even the first month after you get this kind of news.
So if you find yourself facing a shocking or surprising bit of news OR if you’re attempting to console someone, remember that that first day is really tough. Within a day, you’ll have some more perspective. You’ll be starting to move forward and move on!