Whether on the battlefield or in life (some would ask, "What's the difference?"), those who readily adapt to negative events fare better than those who don't. It's called "Resilience," Problem is, there's only one way to become Resilient. Suffer. If one lives long enough, there will be ample opportunities to become resilient.
Once, while traveling through the shimmering red wilds of Utah, I was struck by an interview I heard on a scratchy PBS station. I don't remember the geeky social scientist's name, but his point was that human beings are equipped to handle the most dramatic loss, even the death of a family member or spouse, and adjust, accept, and move forward into our new circumstance in about 38 days. He didn't mean to imply that you stop grieving or that all the emptiness is gone; that, we never forget and may well carry to the grave. According to his studies/findings, it turns out our minds are highly adaptive...quick to adjust to new realities. It's at work in the background, tweaking us into the present and, if we are attuned, offering new attitudes, possibilities, and routines that better fit our new circumstance. 38 days. Gee, it takes me six months to get over a two week flu.
We see it every day—we all know someone who proves the above true and wonder how they do it. Apparently, anyone can. There is no gene for "resilience;" it's an adaptation. So the only way to become resilient, unfortunately, is to be familiar with Miss-Fortune; ain't she a bitch. As I said, if we live long enough, opportunities to become resilient will come.
This might sound a little like Shallow Hal, but of all life's attributes I've aways treasured fitness and health above everything else. Don't need no Ph D's, no Platinum record, no byline in Who's Who. Just give me Health and fitness and the great wild, wild west where I can put it to good use indulging the kinds of activities that bring joy and abundance to my little life. As most of you probably already know, I'm happiest when somewhere remote and wild—away from city crazies—in places with such night blackness I can see every star. Give me an unfamiliar landscape, challenging enough to hold my attention and interest, and I will show you Joy. It is my source of energy, renewal, and happiness, and when Miss-Fortune threatens to take it away, it is no small deal.
I have been dreaming this dream a long, long time, bailed out of a career that would have (had I stayed until age 65) wrapped me in a blanket of security like a child in his Daddy's strong arms; soft and warm and worry-less. Money is nice, but we all know there are certain things it can't buy. It was the best decision I ever made, because only now can I imagine a life without health, only now do I fully understand that there are no guarantees.
Having always made heavy investments in health and fitness, I thought I might avoid or at least postpone the inevitable submersion into Golden Pond. Well Surprise, Surprise. But my mind is already hard at work, adapting, adjusting...compromising. It may be lowering my sights, I don't know. But as long as I can still scoot around on my 29'er, hike a good long trail...just to see a trickle of water fall from a canyon's varnished lip, listen to the Wren's falling song, and wade through alpine meadows of wildflowers, I will count myself among the fortunate.
Though it is on the threshold of noticeability, I do believe I'm getting better every day. Your comments are good motivation to hang in. I appreciate each and every one.
Have a fun Memorial Weekend, and thanks for your support.
Recent random shots around Lovely Ouray