Coping with Challenges

January 16th, 2013 // 12:28 am @ eileenwebb

I called my sister from the post office parking lot to tell her that I’d just mailed my niece a present and it should arrive on her birthday. 

My sister told me that my niece had just found out that she wasn’t going to get the scholarship she had been counting on to go to her top choice college.  They aren’t poor enough to qualify for need based scholarships.  But with three younger kids and retirement on the horizon, without a sizable scholarship this school would be a real financial burden.

So I wrote my niece a letter to help her through this challenge. 

I also recently found out that I was a close second for a business contract that I really wanted.  Pretty similar to my niece’s situation, don’t you think?   So not surprisingly, my advice to her is the same advice I need for myself.

Many philosophers and religions seek to answer the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  I can’t answer that; I don’t know why.  But my advice to my niece on how to deal with these challenges is simple, practical and works for me.    

Dear Erin,

I mailed you a birthday gift yesterday, and I think it’s a lovely gift for the lovely young woman that you are.  But the one gift I wish I could wrap up and give you is resilience.   Years ago they called it grit.  Because bad things happen to good people.  Like you, like me, like my father.

I don’t know if you remember Daddy saying “I’ve lived a Cinderella life.”  But he said it often and clearly believed it.  But plenty of bad things happened in his life – job disappointments, health problems, the numerous miscarriages Mama had before your mother and I were born, and caring for Mama for years while she had Alzheimer’s.  And those are just the major ones that I know about.  And yet he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had lived a Cinderella life.

I’ve had my own share of lost jobs, romantic disappointments, and loved ones who died.  And there were plenty more troubles over the years that were plenty big at the time.  I cried and cried and mourned those losses.  But I always got up and moved on in my life.  Not always quickly, but I always did.

Some of the bad things that happened in my life knocked me upside the head and made me look at my life rather than just drifting along day to day.  If I hadn’t been laid off when you were 6, I would not have moved out west to be closer to your mother and gotten to get to know you as you grew up.  If I hadn’t been laid off multiple times, I would never have started my own company.

Daddy was always there for me through all of it.  Not too long before he died, I thanked him for being there and supporting me.  And then I asked him why, with all the times I’d lost jobs, he never gave me a hard time about it.  And he told me that “I thought you had enough on your plate.”

I can’t put resilience in a box and give it to you, but I hope you find it for yourself as I have.  But I can give you my full support – as Daddy did for me.  And while I can’t put that in a box either, I hope you will find it as valuable coming from me as I did getting it from Daddy.

With all my love and support,

 Aunt Eileen

Category : Blog

3 Comments → “Coping with Challenges”

  1. John Moran

    5 years ago


    Great letter and advice.



  2. William

    5 years ago

    Thoughtful advice


  3. Ernesto Rodríguez

    5 years ago

    Thanks for your tips are very useful


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