Are You Resilient?

Some people are incredibly resilient. What I’ve found resilient women have in common is that they seem to see resilience as the only option. No matter how large or small the issue is, they seem to say, “So?” and keep going. This attitude stretches beyond simple, seemingly everyday issues to life-changing situations. Most of us manage the simple stuff pretty well. Who doesn’t have at least two alternate routes to every travel destination? In New York, that’s not even a coping mechanism – it’s a fact of life. Something is always closed, whether due to repairs or an accident. Train not running? What other trains will get me there? What about the bus?

I’m talking about the big stuff here. The wife of someone very dear to me was married three times before she met him. The first two she refers to as “starter marriages” – the kinds of short-term mistakes it’s easy to make when you’re young. The third was a deeper, strong love that lasted a long time. Unfortunately, her love wasn’t enough to help him overcome his problems, and the marriage ended with his suicide. I don’t know where she got the strength to bounce back and enter into marriage number four. I’m grateful every day that she did.

I interviewed a woman who had a double lung transplant. It would have been easy to give up and die. But she didn’t. She moved to a location that increased the odds of getting that call. She didn’t give up when she missed not one, but two transplant opportunities. She showed up for her kids even when she couldn’t get out of her wheelchair. And she got the transplant, healed and returned to work.

A third woman moved across the country and restarted her career well past seventy. Two more overcame debilitating illnesses. Two more bounced back from Public Assistance. Another three moved on to build good lives for themselves after the death of their spouse.

What makes these women different, I wonder. When the “right” move seems to be pulling the covers over their heads, what made each of them go on? They all share a positive outlook. They all see everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. They all believe firmly that we’re meant to be happy. They all have fun. There’s something in that that makes each of these women incredibly attractive. And that attractiveness seems to attract good things back into their lives. They also are patient – to a point. None of them held still and waited for that miracle. All of them worked hard to improve their lives. But they knew it might take time. And they were willing to wait even as they kept working.

So, it seems to boil down to a passel of p’s: persistence, patience, perseverance, and passion = pleasure.

Are you resilient? What works for you?

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