Adversity — Set back or Opportunity?

After all I have been through, life continues to throw at me some heavy-duty, rib-breaking, Rocky Balboa type body blows.

I am aware that compared to many, I am blessed, but on occasion, today being one such occasion — I don’t feel that way.

The reality of having owned a business and making some bad business decisions, in current economic times, can weigh heavy upon one’s psyche. 

Very real pressure can crush even the strongest and broadest shoulders. 

Some days, I feel much like I did in the past.

Similar situations caused apathy, which in turn led to laziness. The result was that my weight ballooned to a ponderous, pachydermian three hundred and forty pounds and my fitness levels plummeted to previously unforeseen depths.

I am aware that being in the poor state of physical condition and health is a slow way of ending my existence.

Despondently, the last several months have brought a return to such lethargy.

I recall another time I was down and out, a morning that I was ready to quit.  Today, I thought I had finally, forever faltered and abandon al hope, but now I realize, I am not ready to quit, not just yet.

That morning, all those years ago, when the alarm sounded, for the first time in the previous year, I had the desire to unplug the clock, roll back over and continue my slumber.

Reawakened by that situation, inner demons reared their ugly heads.

Visions of carbohydrate crammed foods danced in  my head. 

To the forefront of my brain thoughts of pancakes, home fries, doughnuts and waffles started bubbling.

Later, I could go for a pizza and a nice pot of macaroni and then, in the evening, maybe a pie and a pint or two of ice cream. 

Ah yes, the comfort foods would work their soothing magic.

The demons screamed into my skull:

Why exercise?
Why eat right?
What is the point?

The combination of sloth and gluttony would once again sequester me from the outside world.

The calming influences of empty calorie, nutrient devoid foods would help me sleep.

The lack of exercise would convert the excess consumption into a protective lard layer.


Once again, I would be isolated from the rest of the humanity.

And, I would speed my journey to the final destination.


I felt like I was being held from Hell’s fires by a proverbial rope. 

My mind’s eye glanced up and studied the twine.

I noticed that the repair jobs from previous occasions in which life almost took me down, were once again worn and frayed.

The gremlins and graveling were present, busily hacking away.

The little imps were more than half way through the diameter.

As my gazed remain fixed; I pondered a few thoughts:

Will the rope give all together?

Will my life and future plummet into a great abyss?

More importantly, would I care?

The answers were, it very well might and no, I didn’t care.

When it desires, life can be a cold and heartless bastard.

The bigger question was — Would I embrace my inner demons  and willingly hasten my demise?

I stayed in bed and wondered what it would be like to have had a charmed life. I asked myself more questions.

How different would it have been if my father hadn’t been forced onto disability by a life altering injury?

How would it have been if my parents could have afforded to send me straight to college out of high school?

Was my judgment to enter the Navy, to alleviate the burden of at least one child to care for, the correct decision?

Yes, the self-doubt and self-pity of desperate, damming, despair were being cheered on by the demons.

Much like negative focused naysayers, my inner, mischievous sprites were acting as the harbingers of doom — joyfully, fanning flames of despair, discontent, doubt and disillusionment.

How easy would it be to embrace their self-destructive message!
How simple would it be to return back to my former indolence!
How effortless would it be to add a hefty burden to the rope!

As these thoughts ran through my head, a truck driver outside my window slammed on the brakes.

As the massive rig came to a sudden halt, its cargo violently shifted and I was jarred by a thunderous bang.

My still sleeping brain interpreted the outside clamor into the clang of iron plates being dropped onto the gym floor.

Thoughts of clanging and banging iron sent a familiar shiver through my body.

I jumped from my bed.
The demons hid in terror.
I would not give into their cursed cheering.

There was no time for self-pity.
There was no time for self-sorrow.
There was no time for self-destruction.

The rope was thread-worn and I was not sure how long it would hold out.

However, I must not increase its burden by adding weight to my frame.

It was important then that I continued my endeavors in exercise.

I was confident that by being physically fit and strong, if that rope had given out, I would have been powerful enough to reach up, grab the remaining end and support myself.

I must return, not only to that physical power, but that mental toughness, for if I do  not, the rope may give out, and I would plunge to the depths of hell solely because of my own weakness.

As much as we tend to think otherwise, there is very little in our lives over which we have control.

Well run businesses fail.

Bad, at times awful, things happen to good people.

Politicians pass laws regardless of the actual outcomes.

Hard working, loyal employees, often find themselves without a job.

We must ask ourselves — Is adversity a setback or an opportunity?

It is all in  how we choose to view it.

We can allow bad luck, bad decisions and just flat out bad situations dominate, control and beat us down, or  —  we can choose to respond with positive energy.

You see, I chose how I responded. I now choose, once again, not to allow those demons that are screaming so loudly to negatively effect me. 

I choose to tell those demons to go straight back to hell!

2 thoughts on “Adversity — Set back or Opportunity?

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