Challenges and the Warrior Spirit

Life is filled with challenges. Whether you believe they are there as gifts from your god(s) or just a way for nature to separate the wheat from the chaff, they are there. We are constantly faced with challenges, from little ones to big ones. I honestly believe there isn’t much we can’t handle, so long as we set our mind to handling it and equip ourselves properly. Our final challenge isn’t what kills us, it’s about how we choose to die. (Well, it is what kills us, but I mean that the challenge is not whether or not to die, but how to go… fighting, complacent, angry, denial, helping others to cope, etc.)

We are challenged throughout our lives. One comes up, we face it, meet it, overcome it, and move on to the next one. Some are rather easy for us, hardly a challenge at all. We’re good at whatever we’re being challenged with. Basically, we’re well equipped. We have faith in our abilities to handle it so well we don’t even view it as much of a challenge, if any at all. Others are tough, but we can get through them. We push on through resistance and reach our goals. We feel proud of our accomplishment. We move on.

Some are just fucking hard as hell. It’s something we want/need to do, but damn near every fucking thing is stacked against us. We are super poorly equipped to handle the challenge on natural ability alone. We have genetics against us, money and time against us, lack of knowledge against us…. whatever. It takes a supreme effort of will to not just back away and call ourselves defeated. To find a way to not have to deal with the challenge. We give up. We tell ourselves we don’t care, or that we’ll tackle it another time, or say we’re giving ourselves time to regroup.

Sometimes, that is what we are doing. Reanalyzing the problem, gathering intel, analyzing our previous failed attempts to see where we went wrong and what we can improve, healing our tired bodies and spirits so we can come back stronger and better equipped. Sometimes, we do that more than once. Some challenges force us to keep doing this over and over and over. It’s part of the fucking challenge… to see how soon you’ll give the fuck up and slink back to your cave to nurse your wounds and your grievances, to bitch and moan about how life isn’t fucking fair. To see if you come back to face it again.

Our mettle is only tested with the challenges that actually pose a challenge to us, and each person’s threshold is different… not only in the type of challenge that they face, but also in the “ease” of the challenge. Some people can tough it through a lot, some people cry uncle very early on. There is nothing to say how we should treat people who succeed or fail at various challenges… whether we should exalt one who comes through something RFB (really fucking big) ™ or look down upon someone who cannot seem to even manage the “simplest” of challenges. In our particular society, we do in fact, respond this way (in general) to these examples. We see overcoming challenge as something to be proud of in ourselves; as something to respect in others. We see people who cannot or will not rise to a challenge as people to pity (at best) or people undeserving of our respect (and deserving of worse) at worst.

We all likely have some sort of challenge we have failed to face. Maybe it was minor and didn’t seem to matter; maybe it was major and we are still “regrouping” or it seemed to go away. Maybe we should be a bit more careful of how we judge people who do and don’t (and how) face their challenges. It’s hard. We want to reward people who have (in our eyes) stuck it through, because we all want to be able to be worthy of that reward ourselves. We want our names sung in the mead-halls after we have returned from glorious battle, victorious and proud, dragging the subdued beast behind us.

We want our names sung when we do not return, as well. We want people to remember that we struggled hard, even if we did not defeat the monster, we faced it, head on, and grappled until we were stripped of our life… as an example to all that it is the striving for greatness that makes one great. Win or lose against the beast; it is the facing of it (we like to believe) that reveals our character. The tougher the struggle, the harder won the victory, the more we want to revel in it, and the more we are bolstered through other challenges. Hell, we faced the beast, came through, and we are well-neigh invincible: impervious to doubt, able to overcome frustration, because of our past victory. In such way our victory is good. But let us not become complacent.

Let us not think that there isn’t something else waiting for us, to again test our mettle, to see that we are fit to pass on our genes, our knowledge, our experience. There will be something. There will always be something until there is nothing. And in going on to face nothing, our final act is to show others how best to face that end. Sallying forth, singing gaily, intent to fight until the end. Let no challenge defeat us, for we are strong and can overcome anything… everything put in our way. Survival of the fittest. We can then pass our experience, our will to persevere, to others; not so much through our words as through our example.

Life is fucking tough. We are tougher. That’s why we’re alive.

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