It’s been a short time since we last spoke about adversity. Ironically, fortune’s twisted sense of humor seems to have caught up with our exchange. What have we done?!
I’m certain, as you are, that the current state of affairs will bear a bookmark in history’s tome. However, I must ask: Are you really surprised, thinking this is somehow unprecedented in human history? Look back and you will find countless tales of exiles, imprisonments, and stories of isolation by natural and political reasons. Fear not. In the words of Helen Keller,
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
Remember, our nature will echo the Hero’s Journey whenever chaos bubbles up to the surface. Meaning that our character will get its chance to grow as long as we accept the challenges at hand and confront the unknown. Our mission, I believe, is to be courageous and strive for balance and wisdom. Hence, put your affairs in order, re-examine your priorities, embrace each and every difficulty, and, if you will, set some time aside to appreciate the little things as well.
To give you a more concrete example take a look at my family: when this new adversary presented itself, I must confess we were a bit scared. Still, it quickly felt as if we were hardwired to thrive over it. We effortlessly designed new habits and routines. We got together as a family and established rules to mitigate possible downsides from isolation. My favorite rule became the following, “Every week, choose a couple of days to dress in your favorite clothes. Wear jewelry, spray some perfume, and enjoy those days as if they were somewhat special. — We reckon not everything has to be so sad and grim. Hardships in life aren’t optional, despair is.” Now, it feels we have transformed ourselves into stronger and wiser human beings.
As time goes by, positive impressions from this experience begin to add up. For instance, nature’s soundtrack seems to have taken over; turning early mornings into a haven of calmness. I often wonder if birds, dogs, and trees were so vivid before. Even though there is tension in the air, it feels great to go outside for groceries, cross paths with passerby, exchange looks, nod, and notice their eyes smiling behind their masks.
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses. Over here all that excitement of social interactions going digital soon eroded. How many hours can one manage to look at screens? Meetings, video calls, social media, spreadsheets, text reviews, books, online courses, tv shows, movies, etc,. I’m glad we have all of this, don’t take me wrong, it has made our lives much easier. But enough is enough. When this is all over, I’m keeping special interactions face to face and messages like this on paper. Something is soothing about physical interactions, so I’ll always keep them close at heart.
Since you know I’m fond of Seneca, and you told me that being inside feels like you’ve lost something, I’ll leave you with one quote from him and some brief considerations afterward.
For how little have we lost, when the two finest things of all will accompany us wherever we go, universal nature and our individual virtue.
Everyone goes through difficult times. Nonetheless, it’s in our nature to thrive. Embrace your personal Hero’s Journey and give yourself a chance to become a more resilient, courageous, and wiser human being.
Hope these words reach you in good health. Talk to you soon.