July 17, 2019

Surviving a Personal Apocalypse — Part 1: The Four Horsemen

rhodesThe world was supposed to end last year about this time. False alarm. The Mayan calendar came and went, and we never got a chance to meet….

The Four Horsemen: Conquest, War, Famine, Death. The original End Times Bad Asses – darkness, destruction, and death on steroids. If it’s catastrophic, they bring it: plague, war, famine, storm, earthquake, flood, fire, raging wild animals, and a whole lot more. It’s the Public Apocalypse: the worldwide bad day to end all bad days. We’re all invited, and there’s no “regrets” option on the RSVP card.

There’s a lot of Apocalypse fascination these days – so much, that some Jungian theorists think we might have one just because so many people are envisioning it. We’ll activate the apocalyptic archetype that’s lodged in the collective unconscious and bring on our own end just because we’re infatuated with it. Thanks a lot, Hollywood.

What gets even more play is what happens next. We know how the Apocalypse ends: the total destruction of everything. Okay, got that. But then what? What will life be like when EVERYTHING is in ruins?

Nasty, brutish, and short, apparently – judging from the books, movies, and TV shows.

But don’t worry, this isn’t a series about the Public Apocalypse. It’s about how we live after a Private Apocalypse – after our personal lives are so completely unraveled, it feels like the Four Horsemen trampled through our living room.

The list of private catastrophes starts out like the public one – health problems, natural disasters – but also includes things like job loss, business failures, and relationship breakups. Sometimes it’s a career meltdown, when we find ourselves awash in angry seas, clinging to a job life raft with a hole in it, realizing we got all the way out here for the sake of a paycheck we thought we couldn’t afford to live without.

This is apocalypse on a micro level – myapocalypse.com. It’s private and personal, but no less catastrophic. All is changed in the twinkling of an eye. All our boundaries and structures and beliefs have been breached. We’ve been shot past the point of no return, rocketed to the shocking end of the story we thought would run on forever, but we were wrong.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, we’re living in the land of This Was Never Supposed to Happen. There are no bearings, no context, no familiar ANYTHING, nothing but the chaos in our heads, swirling with infinite possibilities, all of them dreadful.

You know I’m not exaggerating if you’ve been there.

Theoretically, we could make big changes in our lives without the help of all that. We could, but we usually don’t. It usually takes a crash and burn to get our attention.

It takes the Four Horsemen.

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes is a lawyer in private practice and a registered mentor with the Colorado Supreme Court’s CAMP program. He offers career coaching for lawyers and leads workshops for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Solo and Small Firm Section and the Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevin@rhodeslaw.com.

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