There may be a crack in my armor, but I’m still in one piece. Truth be told, I sometimes feel as if I’m improving with age, like fine wine. I keep discovering things about myself, insights that took time to unlock, strengths that have grown over time, developed in part by the need to keep moving on when life’s little (or large) setbacks threatened to take me out for a time or even keep me down for the count.
I understand that I am fortunate to be able to say that. I understand that others have floundered and been lost encountering the same sort of setbacks and difficulties I have faced. I do not see myself as stronger than they; perhaps just luckier. Maybe it’s grit, or just old-fashioned mulishness. I also recognize that what I call trials and tribulations are, on a scale of 1-10, somewhere under 5, compared to what others have suffered.
Lessons taught, lessons learned
But I have learned some things along the way that may be helpful to others. And I have met many others who’ve shared some of their wisdom with me. I confess that most of what I’ve learned has been not in the classroom, nor even from books, but from the past and from my elders. It took a long time, but the messages passed down from previous generations have taken hold. I am now of an “older generation.” And I feel a bit wiser. For that I am grateful.
This, then, is nowhere near a formula to follow, but just some thoughts to consider. Each one of us walks a singular path. It requires balance and patience, fortitude as well as zeal, and the determination to wake up each morning and get out of bed. After each stumble, one must stand up, push on and look ahead, without getting stuck in the muck. Take that literally or figuratively — it’s good advice. It may be particularly pertinent today, as our world seems to be imploding — or exploding — all around us. There is much to be concerned about right now, and many reasons to be fearful.
Disappointment about ruined plans — travel, graduations, celebrations, even sold-out groceries and toilet paper — is minor stuff right now. Concern about global health is far more serious, both human health and economic health.
Moving forward in difficult times
Wisdom, fulfillment, knowledge, self-control, patience, serenity, acceptance: Those are worthy aspirations. And those are the things that contribute to a sense of hope. Add in a lot of hard work, a belief that the current viral spread will be contained, and a mindset that we truly are all in this together. That’s a recipe for hope, a reason to move on, and a mandate to stay strong and help one another in any way possible.
Wiser people than I have offered the way: We must change our daily habits, take extra precautions, honor the directives of local, state and national governments, support our leaders, help our neighbors, take care of our families — and wash our hands!
Oh, and yes, we ought to wear those troublesome masks!
We must strive to find ways to recover, rebuild and resume our pattern of life in a new way, a way that is kinder, more inclusive, more friendly and less confrontational.
Yes, we are all in this together.
Let’s resolve to replace despair with hope and hard work, to adopt the “can do” attitude that helped previous generations survive pandemics, depressions and wars, to cure diseases and put a crew on the moon, to explore the earth and its oceans, to discover new lands, and build new nations.
The daily experience of living continues. Let’s all try to live as well as possible, despite — or perhaps because of — today’s challenges.