The hard way

What makes a person resilient? Why do some people with a Parkinson’s diagnosis remain active through their second and even their third decade, while others don’t make it five years? One answer might be that societal pressure to treat a person with a severe ailment as a victim disempowers them, significantly diminishing their ability to fight back.

Before frightening anyone, let me explain that the danger is with those playing the long-term victim role. It is okay to temporarily play the part of victim, say during the initial diagnosis surprise. Get your complaining done and move on.

Resilience gains strength with a rebellious attitude toward the popular narrative of victimhood. It thrives when keeping an open mind, becoming available to those who put the well-being of others ahead of their interest. And sustained resilience takes hard work and patience.

But resilience only settles deeply into a person’s soul after developing a habit pattern of doing things the hard way.

Choosing to not get a disabled parking pass is an example of the hard way. The extra walking is not only healthy but also boosts morale by avoiding the promotion of self-identification as someone with Parkinson’s disease. Do you want to be defined first and foremost by a disease?

Solo boating and impromptu swimming are doing things the hard way. The hard way has me racing against myself up a steep hiking trail in the recurring epiphany that I can only lose by quitting.

The hard way puts us out of our comfort zone, facing challenges that test our thinking, opening the body to positive change, and allowing for a low-grade flow state of increased performance. It can lead to a fully engaged and satisfying life.

Life is hard. Why make it harder?

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