When Life Sucks: Making the Best of a Bad/Crappy Situation (Fake it till you Make it!)

Keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about. – Marilyn Monroe.

Image source: www.sodahead.com

(Post by Rebecca Tracey, Life-Switch Coach + Adventure Instigator at The Uncaged Life)

I’m going to tell you a little story.

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were driving our Chevy ’82 campervan up a dirt road that we thought led to the climbing area we were going to, somewhere in small town Utah.

After 30 mins going up this ridiculously dusty and steep hill, with no cliffline in sight, we realized this was definitely NOT the road to Maple Canyon. 

But being on a super steep dirt road with a sheer drop on one side and a forest on the other, in a pretty crappy old van with a terrible turning radius, we had absolutely nowhere to turn around.

So we kept putt, putt, putting up the hill.  

Until, as our luck would have it, the van stalled.

In the middle of the road.

At 9pm, with the sun going down.

With no cell service.


And the real kicker? Wildfires blazing in every single forest surrounding us.

We were legitimately STUCK.

And for a moment, I legitimately thought we might burn to death if we had to sleep there that night.

Frustrated and tired, we weren’t sure what to do next.

Walking back down to service wasn’t really an option, as it was pitch dark outside, and would have taken hours to get back down. And who knows what kind of animals like to hang out in this forest.

So what did I do?

I rigged up the emergency flashlight onto the hood of the van, and attached a lantern to the back (just in case anyone came barreling down the hill in the middle of the night), pulled out the scotch, a package of m&m’s, and started getting the laptop geared up for a movie night!

Sounds ridiculous, huh? 

The way I looked at it, I had a few options:

I could Freak Out.


Get mad at my boyfriend.

Get mad at the van.

Get mad at the world.

Worry all night about all the terrible ways we could die up there on that hill.

Hell. No.

You know how when something really shitty happens, people always say to you “you’ll be laughing at this later”?

Sure – you could hang onto hope that one day, this will be funny.


You can make it funny NOW.

Squeak out a smile. Force yourself to take it as it comes. Revel in awe at the ridiculousness of it all.

Now, this might not work in EVERY situation right away but you CAN make the most out of it. Here’s how:

1. Smile. No matter how pissed you are about what’s going on, crack a smile anyway.

2. Take a deep breath. Think about that calm, collected person you just SO wish you could be. How would she react? What would she do? If you want to grow and evolve as a person, you’ve gotta think like the person you want to be, and not get stuck in the old, tired story of who you have been in the past. 

3. Appreciate. What can you appreciate about the situation? By finding something to be grateful for, you change from being the victim and begin to be responsible for your own experience. 

4. Do the best you can do. Knowing that all you have is this moment, right now, what can you do to make the very best of your situation? 

Imagine if you could approach every crappy situation in your life with a light heart and a huge smile after the initial freak out. How would that change your experiences?

By choosing how you want to respond to stress, you actively and intentionally create your life YOUR way. You take 100% responsibility for your happiness, no matter what.

After all, this is your one precious life. Mine for the gold and appreciate every moment of it!

I want to hear from you: what’s your default when life throws you a curveball? And what is one thing you can do to take life a little less seriously? Please share in the comments below!

Oh and don’t be shy, like, tweet, G+, pin, share this post, thank you! 

As a Life-Switch Coach + Professional Adventure Instigator, Rebecca helps freedom-seeking fanatics bust out of their self-imposed cages and create lives + careers that cheerfully defy conventional logic.

Ready to take your top-secret, rule-bending, crazy-town dream—and lay out a plan, to bring it to life? Let’s tell your excuses to suck it. Together. Check out The Uncaged Life, or stalk her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.


** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


SPARKLE FLIGHT CLUB: WHERE DREAMS TAKE FLIGHT & FEARS GET GROUNDED. 30 day purpose + passion finding digital experience. Starts October 1st, 2012. CLICK FOR DEETS.


Facebook comments:



  1. says

    Or you can make it funny now! I loved this part.

    Yes, sometimes bad things happen. Life is too short to stay angry and upset. We can’t change what happens, but we can control how we react.

    When something really really irks me, I grab a jump rope and blast 80s music. Basically, I have to MOVE.

    Then I sit back down and work through it.

    Great post about making the best of things.

  2. Judy Black says

    Sometimes when I am feeling sorry for myself, I think of others that have it so much worse than I do. ” I wept because I had no shoes,until I met a man that had no feet.”
    I like the way you approach life,it reminds me of Randy . ” We can not change the cards we are dealt but we can change the way we play the cards” Randy Paush “

  3. YogiCrystal says

    Been trying to work on this myself in certain situations. Sometimes it’s just not worth getting extremely stressed over, it ends up hurting me more along with whatever the situation is. Hopefully I can then bring this attitude to all situations. Love the post!

    • says

      It definitely is a practice. And I’ll be the first to admit that I very often forget to do it. I have to consciously push through the rage of emotions and remind myself that it’s not worth getting my panties in a knot over! Thanks for the comment : )

  4. Janet says

    Hi Rebecca
    I loved this article especially the bit about about growing and evolving as a person and beginning to think like the person you want to be – very empowering. We don’t have to wait until we are that person – we call that person into being by acting as if we were already her! In this way instead of just reacting to our life’s situations we are actively involved in creating our life. ….we are ‘being the change we want to see in the world’ (Ghandi). Lovely. xx

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