Resiliency in 2023
In the final days of 2022, I told you I’m writing and publishing a new book in 2023. Roll Forward: Reflections by an Incurably Resilient Father is a book about learning how to be more resilient and will be released in December.
A few days later, on January 1, 2023, I sit at my kitchen table drinking morning coffee reading, From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks, a book gifted to me by a friend. A book that explains how adult life is often delicately divided in two halves and how the second half of life–the one with gray hair, achy knees, and the questioning of one’s self-worth–can be a time of great discovery.
As quick as a Keurig, another year has passed, a new one begins, and though I’m optimistic this year will be a good one, filled with accomplishments and good will, there swirls a sense of uncertainty that often accompanies a new beginning of any kind. A new job, a new relationship, a new school. However, Arthur Brooks reassures this swirling is absolutely normal.
Disappointment and uncertainty are inevitable. But we don’t have to turn them into suffering. ~ Arthur Brooks
Maybe my uncertainty was further ignited when, at a recent holiday party, people commented on how big my kids are getting and how fast they’re growing up. Or maybe it’s because I suddenly have patches of pesky gray chin stubble. Or maybe it’s because over her Winter Break, Haley and I had a conversation about college and majors and professions. She said maybe she would like to do something in the medical field. I suggested being a writer. She firmly said no.
In the first half of adulthood I was a high school English teacher. My life was an assembly of school calendars and bell schedules and state curriculums. Days were timed and organized with buzzers and beeps. And when I went home, there was just enough time to eat dinner, drive the kids to soccer practice, have a bowl of ice cream, watch The Office, and go to bed. Yes, a bit of a drag at times but the structure offered reassurance. There was a certain certitude that made life comfortably predictable.
I turn From Strength to Strength face down on the table and take a sip of coffee.
Dylan thumps down the stairs, rubs his eyes, and asks what we’re doing today.
“I don’t know.”
“Can we do something fun?”
I take another sip of coffee, “Maybe.”
I’m three years into my second half of adulthood. I’m still a husband and father but rather abruptly the curtain fell, and I had to retire my school teacher khakis and transition into becoming a writer who wears sweatpants and has a progressive brain disease. A second half that is defined by “maybe.”
Maybe I’ll discover a new idea to write about today. Maybe my disease will progress. Maybe some Swiss laboratory will develop a magic pill that will cure my brain disease. Maybe I’ll buy a new pair of sweatpants this week.
In this present, “maybe” life I have learned that we must lean into uncertainty. We must be flexible and fluid. We must realize the unknown is ripe with undiscovered opportunities. We need to accept our doubts and be comfortable to change.
If ‘Resiliency in 2023’ is the theme around here, the first day of the year is a good day to accept that the next 364 days will contain a multitude of maybes. Maybe it will be fun? Painful? Exciting? Boring? A waste of time? Rewarding? Simple? Complex? Forgettable? Cherished?
Whatever the multitude, if we’re serious about becoming more resilient, you and I must get comfortable with maybe.
Checkout my interview with All Author where I talk about the writing process and being hounded for autographs at the food store.
A writer, speaker, former high school English teacher, and award-winning author, Jay Armstrong always enjoyed making people feel something. He was also a stand-up comedian. Ever since he was a child he wanted to write a book. His memoir, Bedtime Stories for the Living won first place in the non-fiction/parenting category of the International Readers’ book contest. He enjoys reading, writing, and exercising. Read full interview…
January Book Promos for You:
Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself? This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors to promote our books in Become Inspired. Become You.
Memoirs, Biographies, Self-help books…oh my! This month I also joined literary forces with some best-selling authors to promote our books in the inspiring in Nonfiction Grab Bag.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…
A few months ago, with low expectations, I took a shot and entered “Bedtime Stories for the Living” in the highly regarded, highly competitive international book contest presented by Readers’ Favorite. Readers’ Favorite is an established force in the publishing industry. They have worked withPenguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
Anyway, just before I was about to take a midday nap, I was informed that this suburban dad had won…
First Prize, the Gold Medal, in the Non-Fiction/Parenting genre!
Are you a reader? Looking for your next good book to read or listen to? Check out my new page “Jay’s Book Shelf” for some book recommendations.
Here’s what I’m currently listening to: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
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Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)
Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time.
You can also visit Jay at jayarmstrongwrites.com