In difficult times, I recite a line from the movie Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” With that said, even when we try to stay positive, the best of us can get discouraged and feel like we will never surface from the difficulties we face. Here’s the thing, even when we are in the depths of our despair, we never know when a light will shine, when we will turn a corner or when our hard work will finally pay off.
Like many people across the globe, I have tuned into the Olympic Games. The Olympics are magical. They display athleticism that most of us can’t fathom. They showcase teamwork and hometown pride. They are the embodiment of what is good in this world. They are also filled with inspirational stories.
My favorite happened in the men’s 30KM skiathlon, not a completion I usually watch. Simen Hegstad Krueger, of Norway, crashed at the opening gate of the race. He was in dead last. As the grueling race trudged on, Krueger caught up, lap by lap. I kept thinking, “Is he going to overcome that disaster?” And he did! 1:16:20 later, he won gold!
That come from behind finish reminded me that we can feel like we have failed miserably and have no chance to recover, but if we keep trying and giving it our best, putting in the long hours and hard work, we can overcome what seems like insurmountable odds. I imagine that Krueger thought all hope was lost, but he didn’t give up.
Have you ever felt that way? I have. When I was in graduate school, I occasionally gave myself permission to quit. That weekend reprieve was all I needed to get up and start again. I finished. When I was in the middle of a very difficult and stressful custody battle, I remember crying myself to sleep and waking in the middle of the night feeling like I had failed my children. I haven’t. When time wore on as I looked for a new job, I thought, “I can’t write one more cover letter or look at Indeed one more time.” I did.
Life is a series of trials and difficulties. It’s also a series of joys and triumphs. Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting our head down, working hard and being ready for the opportunity to break ahead of the pack, like Krueger. So when life has you down, just keep swimming. You will reach the finish line and a celebration will be waiting.