A SIMPLE QUESTION BUT THE ANSWER IS FAR FROM THAT.
“The biggest challenge?”
My answer is, I don’t have an answer. Well, not one single answer.
Some days just waking up can be a challenge and other days we fly through life with angel wings. Challenges appear that seem insurmountable even unfathomable, but mostly the human spirit endures and we make it through if we have the help, the skills and the friendship of others to guide us. I can see dealing with challenges improves with age, it has for me; it is not easier it is simply no longer a surprise. The bank of endurance is larger and the experience greater.
What I do know is the flipside of a challenge is the success. For every ounce of hardship, there is ten times the amount of joy on the other side.
Go figure; none of it makes perfect sense.
What are some major challenges?
Children. Having children or not? If we do, we face an enormous change physically and combined with caring for them, teaching them and keeping them safe, it is only the beginning. Helping them grow as individuals, encouraging them and watching their future evolution is when the real fun starts. Helping to solve their problems or at the very least trying to show them the way through is much more demanding than I ever would have imagined. Despite the challenges, parenthood has been my biggest high and my most outstanding achievement.
Partnership. It’s not easy merging lives, living in a partnership and sharing. Whoever said sharing was an easy thing? Compromise, another tricky concept. Does anyone ever like to compromise? Come on, really, I know we have to and I am aware that it is a regular requirement for a happy partnership but sometimes I feel it weakens rather than strengthens outcomes. We are celebrating 35 years any minute and I would be telling fibs if I said it was forever perfect. Nothing is ever perfect but when it’s right, it is worth fighting for.
Loss. The feeling of loss, however great or small, is a massive stumbling block to happiness. The challenge of loss is to learn and grow from the heartache, to go forward and make those we have lost proud of us. I don’t believe we ever “get over” a loss but I do know we can learn to live with it. Loss shapes and defines who we are and inevitably makes us stronger. The older I am the more I am accepting of loss and the more I try to find meaning in this challenge.
Work. I think of work challenges as positive ones, if we are fulfilled by what we do. I like to set my own challenges every year, both large and small. Having goals helps us direct and grow our achievements. Why do we work so hard? The answer is simple; passion and commitment.
Commitment. Seeing something through to the end is oftentimes a challenge. It can be easier to let things slide, fade out and fall away into nothingness. Whether we are thinking big or small, about work or about relationships, putting our hands up and stepping forward is tough. It is so much less confronting to let someone else take the lead.
Responsibility. Perhaps responsibility is the ‘big boss’ of all our challenges? If we never take responsibility we will never fail but neither will we conquer.
And the little daily challenges.
Those every day inner conflicts that muddle our mind and tease us relentlessly – the getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of another, making a dreaded phone call or facing those jobs that have been piling up forever – are tough. In other words the challenge of what we don’t really want to do. If we always did what we wanted, would we be happier? Probably not. Perhaps facing challenges is about finding the balance?
Then there are the exciting challenges, the personal bests – for to each his own. Black ski runs, a mountain summit, a marathon, mastering another language; the list of pleasures/personal limits is endless. Every challenge is unique to the individual.
Challenges keep us on our toes and make life compelling. We might not always sign up, but if we do we can be certain they will change us and mostly for the better.
Let’s embrace them, xv.