Following the storm, one of my social circles circulated a series of emails starting with one person saying they hoped everyone was safe, evolving to one talking about their hardships.
I responded with
No power, no internet, no phone, no water… no problem.
They’re supposed to restore those things in a week or two. In the meantime I can walk to midtown, like now.
I hope you’ve come to expect such sentiments from me. others responded with things like
Josh – Amazing spirit 🙂
While I like the compliment and I appreciate the hardship of the storm’s aftermath, I feel people complaining about their hardships and viewing resilience as special miss a major point of life.
We had a big storm. Many people have no power, phone, plumbing, subways and internet. While many have lost more than that, as far as the eight million people in the city go, my lower Manhattan neighbors and I are at the epicenter. Well, you could say that, but I don’t. I have nothing to complain about. Yes, I’ve had to change all my plans. I have to carry buckets of water up five flights in the pitch dark just so I can flush my toilet. I have to rely on friends and family.
I don’t know if people expect champagne and caviar every day or what, but it seems to me life is about handling what comes at you. And how is interacting with friends and family not something to look forward to? We have to handle something different than usual, but why should pain and changing plans get in the way of reward and happiness? What else was anyone planning but to make the best of their lives? So aren’t they doing what they were planning anyway, just with different weather.
I get that people have lost more than just the convenience of plumbing, power, internet, phone, and subways. They’ve lost their houses. If I could take on their pain I would. But I have a feeling if I did, soon after I’d feel emotional reward again. I don’t see how in life dwelling on an unchangeable past helps me feel better or solves my problems.
It seems to me one of the reasons Man’s Search for Meaning remains so highly regarded is that it shows how people could find meaning in even a place designed to be as horrible as Auschwitz. Sorry to bring up something so extreme, but it’s a perennially popular book to help people resolve challenges like this. And whatever problems the storm brought, it didn’t bring anything remotely like Auschwitz. Why read the book if not to learn to enjoy life in situations less harrowing than it describes?
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