Growing up my parents both consistently told me that life is hard and was going to kick me to the ground; if I was lucky only a few times but likely far more often than that. Of course when I was very little I did not believe this advice, what is so bad when you are young. But sure enough came the bullies, the broken hearts and the failures as the years went on.
Over the years I have still found myself picking up the phone to my mom or dad crying about something and every time I hear the same thing, that’s life, it is not easy. Of course they listen to me, offer comfort and support and maybe even a solution, but without fail every single time they say it. I will not lie, sometimes I do not want to hear it at all and I have been known to scoff at them saying it, but I also know that it is exactly what I need to hear or be reminded of for that matter.
They are right though, life is hard, things will never be just handed out and the odd times when they are I know that I rarely want them or appreciate them, because there is nothing like working your butt off to make you appreciate something more. Life likes to hit you when you are down and make it seem like even a single movement is impossible, and maybe it is. But I am glad because I know to expect it and sure there may be zero explanation for it, but I was raised to know that life is not and would never be easy.
See it took me some 20 years give or take to come to this realization. My parents were never cynical about the world (quite the opposite actually, they are fiercely positive with a splash of realism), they were preparing me for the let downs that I would face and the struggles, strife and challenges. But more so than anything else, my parents were preparing me to work hard, not because life is hard but in spite of it.
They taught me to never expect a hand out and that if I really truly wanted something that I could do it even if it took everything in me (take me running a half-marathon when I had never even run a 5k). My parents taught me that despite all the terrible things in this world, I should not get discouraged or lose hope, but instead use it to fuel a fire inside of me (they really did create a grand optimist). They wanted me to understand that things are rarely given, but instead they are earned and the things you earn are so much sweeter than those handed out.
I know now that I will face many more hardships in my life and some will be easier than others and some will be harder than others. I am sure there will be breakdowns, but I also know that if I work hard I can overcome these things and the reward at the end will be much better than if it had come easily. Sure the hard work does not always pay off and sometimes life hits you harder than any hard work can cure, but I know for certain that I have never to this point looked back and known I didn’t give it my 100% all when it truly mattered and I do not intend to start. Because honestly, at the end of the day it is the journey they have taught me to love so much more than the destination, to live in the now and love the struggle. What’s a life worth living if you are always waiting to live it?