“It Ain’t How Hard you hit…It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” ― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
Life is Not Fair
“Here on the Equator, in the continent which would one day be known as Africa, the battle for existence had reached a new climax of ferocity, and the victor was not yet in sight. In this barren and desiccated land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even hope to survive.
Moon-Watcher barely stirred when the shrieks and screams echoed up the slope from one of the lower caves, and he did not need to hear the occasional growl of the leopard to know exactly what was happening. Down there in the darkness his family was fighting and dying, and the thought that he might help in some way never crossed Moon-Watcher’s mind. The harsh logic of survival ruled out such fancies, and not a voice was raised in protest from the listening hillside. Every cave was silent, lest it also attracted disaster.
The tumult died away, and presently Moon-Watcher could hear the sound of a body being dragged over rocks. That lasted only a few seconds; then the leopard got a good hold on its kill. It made no further noise as it padded silently away, carrying its victim effortlessly in its jaws.
At the great age of twenty-five, Moon-Watcher was still in full possession of his faculties; if his luck continued, and he avoided accidents, disease, predators, and starvation, he might survive for as much as another ten years.”
2001 A Space Odyssey – Arthur Clark
The Promise of 2020
The year 2020 held such promise. My lady and I had just become engaged, I was about to release my latest book Strong & Happy, and we were to start planning for our eventual retirement at our ranch in Wyoming. Then came the turbulent waters of Covid-19, political unrest, and a depressed economy. As the year wound down, the tribulations of 2020 once again reared their ugly heads. Just prior to Christmas, I received news that my blind 95-year-old mother who suffers from severe dementia and wasting disease would be put out into the street; and I put my retirement on hold to pay for her care. Adding fuel to the fire, my company announced cutbacks that pose a potential threat to my employment. But 2020 was not finished with us yet. The day before Christmas Eve, my fiancé learned that her father was given less than two-weeks to live. We rushed to her father’s home in southern Illinois and spent the week of Christmas holding vigil with her two sisters. On Tuesday, December 29th at 11PM, my fiancé lost her father, and I lost my second favorite person in this world, without whom I would not have been blessed with my first favorite person.
So, why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because as bad as 2020 was, and as bad as 2021 is shaping up to be, I am thankful.
As stated at the start of this blog, life is not fair, life never will be fair, and life was never meant to be fair. Much of the unhappiness of this world stems from a belief that life is fair. We learn this from our parents, our schools, and our government. Then, when people are slapped with the unfairness of life, they find themselves disillusioned and sad. As said in my latest book Strong & Happy:
We go through life thinking we will be happy once we get all our ducks in a row. Instead, we should be happy now by accepting that the Universe is a messy place, and our ducks will wander.
Once I get all my ducks in a row, then I will be happy
─ should be ─
Once I accept that ducks will wander, happiness will be in my grasp
Instead of fearing the chaos of life, we should embrace it. Embracing chaos is the stoic act of doing everything in our power to control a situation, and when that fails ─ letting go, embracing the inevitable, and focusing our efforts on the next challenge.
Why am I thankful? I am thankful because my life is a cake walk compared to the life of early Man, like that of Moon-Watcher. I am thankful for my amazing fiancé, with whom all tribulations are trivial. I am thankful because I was spared the nightmare of being a parent lamenting over a terminally ill child, as many parents are now doing and for whom my heart bleeds. I am thankful because in the big scheme of things, my life is blessed. Most of all, I am thankful to God for giving me a new year that is clean, untouched, and perfect. A year that hopes I learned something from yesterday ─ and so do I.
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