Adversity. By Owen Zupp.
I like to think that people become stronger through adversity.
Adversity can take many forms at different times, although in the current COVID climate, there seems to be heightened awareness. Some are struggling financially, some socially and others, with their health. The news bulletins seem to focus on the downside and the concept of good news seems to have slipped into oblivion. A key objective in our house is keeping our children informed about the current situation with a balanced discussion – unlike the media, we don’t need to sell advertising.
Still, when I cast my mind back, every time life has presented a hurdle, my life has subsequently been better for it. I have been blessed not to have the adversity that so many others have faced along the way but when the road has presented obstacles, they haven’t proved to be limiting.
I have frequently related how the collapse of Ansett and the loss of my job as a 737 pilot actually led to a richer life in many ways and there have been other events. As with any life well lived, there will be events we’d rather not encounter but that doesn’t stop them coming. Even the loss of my dad at an age far too young, I learned to treasure every moment. I appreciated how valuable his life lessons and wise words had been and hopefully, I’ve been able to be a better husband and dad because of that. I still miss him and regret he never met my family, but they have definitely heard his words.
Good times are to be embraced and part of their magic is the sense of ease that accompanies them. We seek to maintain that relaxed status quo but unfortunately, our life doesn’t always comply. It’s the tough times and an absence of contentment, that more often bring about change. Bad decisions and stupid mistakes can also serve a purpose – their downside provides the incentive.
At that point, it’s up to us how we address the challenges and plot our strategy. Onwards and upwards, or throw in the towel? It’s never easy but if we can look long term and imagine what might just be possible, we can attack the bad times with the same tenacity with which they seek to drive us down. I try to push through the immediate pain of the situation and imagine our world in the longer term after the surgery has been performed. Ignoring the wound does not make it go away either.
Headlines and social media highlight that bitterness, envy, and anger are nothing more than wasted time with the potential to cause damage. Lashing out at others seems to be a form of stress release for some and we need to recognise that, not get sucked into the vacuum.
As I have said before, my issues are “first world”. They are challenges that can be worked through with focus, patience and effort. Nowhere on my birth certificate does the word “easy” appear. However, “Australia” is there on multiple occasions and in these trying times, that’s a wonderful starting point.
Onwards and upwards!