Dulcius ex asperis – sweeter after difficulty
We all know that things we worked hard for, we fought for, we had to struggle for, are more valuable for us. There is value in the effort things take. But what if the struggle is too much, or you do not seem to overcome the barriers ahead of you – no matter how hard you try. It could give a feeling of unfearness. Life should be fair right: If I put in more work, try harder, then I will receive more results, gain more and enjoy a sweeter life.
The latin words dulcius ex asperis are a phrase used in a family crest, but also show up on motivational posts and such. I can identify with the words, since I’ve had my fair share of difficulty and had to build everything myself. But I also see two other sides of the medal – which makes no sense since there are no three sides medals. So I’m going for that.
The factor of luck. I’m as far as my life is going right now with 41 years and 364 days, healthy. I eat healthy, workout 2-3 times a week and made a shift in my life 4-5 years ago to be at least fit. This way I could carry the burden of life as a dad, entrepeneur, husband and even have energy to do something for myself. I’ve had minor physical issues and my mental issues I have addressed and work on every day since I asked for help. But as a person open for other peoples feelings I often see myself surrounded by people sharing their story. And they seem less lucky.
Because even though my childhood was not always great and I left my parents home at a young age with struggles, I came out nice. My difficulty did give me sweetness. But in my circle of people, I also know people struggling with depression, cancer, severe PTSS from childhood or other trauma. These things, they did not ask for this, or did anything to deserve this – you could say they’re unlucky. It does make them tough but with a clear mind: It seems like their difficulty made them realize that every extra day on this planet is bonus, at least the people that came on top. Some of my friends and family perished, and then the story ends.
So we’ve covered the ‘no matter how hard you try, you can just be unlucky’ for some reason – and this goes beyond being sick obviously. Economics, geopolitics, your skin-color, there is simply a lot that can happen over time. It’s sadly, part of life. The second thing I want to point out is that life isn’t fair either.
Circling back to me: I had a rough start, funded my own education, worked hard and long with my long-time girlfriend and wife and we made a life for ourselves. We played safe, no quick wins, no easy shortcuts – working, saving, working and this way we came out ‘on top’. Yes, that is what people tell us now: you’re so lucky, to have all this. Kinda pisses me off: yes I did not get cancer or get hit by a meteor – but for all the things I could influence I did spend a lot of energy in our ‘success’ (depending on what you would call success obviously).
And that is where the fairness comes in to play: If I would have gone into becoming a teacher, or a firefighter, I would not have (financially) achieved what I have no. If I would have been slowed down, for being a woman, or from a ethnic group not in favor of public opinion, it would have slowed me down. The challenges people can face or not always fair. No matter how hard you try, you cannot count on luck or to expect a fair life. I’ve had my share of unfairness – by seeing taxes and laws change in my disadvantage, having to pay extra all of a sudden or not being eligible for a tax cut other did get weeks later or not to mention our nice mortgage stock market plan that paid out nothing much after years of paying into these funds. These where mostly financial disappointments, and we just kept on working and saving to compensate for this.
What did I learn from this? Well: we focus on results all the time, and then can feel disappointed if I’m not getting ripped in the gym if I workout as much as someone else does and does get ripped, or does get the job, etc. Same effort does not equal same outcome. And it does not matter. Because where we tend to focus on the things that didn’t work out as planned, other things did work out without too much issues. Everyone has their own demons.
The way I learned to deal with these things was to find acceptance. Am I upset about things that happened in my childhood and I have to deal with now I’m a parent myself? No, it’s okay. Am I still upset about the money I missed out all these years on things that didn’t work out for me? Including the downfall of my business during covid? Well no, I dealt with that as good as I could and sleep well over it. What I want to achieve here is having no regrets, no anger and keeping all this time left for me to invest in new things.. or something.. to just be. Now I’m entering the midlife crisis age range I see more and more people becoming chronically angry, at the world, because they start to understand that life is not fair and their effort did not pay of the way they wanted. I just wish for them to find acceptance in this and move on to the rest of their lives. Take pride in their efforts and the things they did achieve.