25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Hard: Part 4

Photo Courtesy of Mary Shantz

I believe a grown man shouldn’t brag.

It’s tacky, annoying, and immature.

Bragging is something my 13-year-old son does in to a black headset while playing some Xbox game too complicated for me too understand against other 13-year-olds.

However, I did tell you in June my summer goal was to develop a list of 100 things to remember when life gets hard.

And even with my basic middle-school math skills, I was able to calculate 4 blog posts consisting of 25 things to remember=100 things to remember when life gets hard=permission to brag.

Here are the first 3 parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Now all bragging aside, making this list was not easy. There were long summer stretches of thinking, of focusing, of quietude. One of those stretches involved staring a my computer’s screensaver of a lighthouse casting a soft yellow beam into the violent swell of crashing waves and dark, billowing clouds.

At the start of summer, I set out to create a unique list of reminders that, like my screensaver lighthouse, would help navigate the storms of our lives. Crafting this list reminded me that we’re responsible for creating our own light, our own hope, our own reasons for enduring.

Sometimes, just by quietly sitting and staring at your screensaver, while the hard times relentlessly crash upon you, you discover a light. The perspective and reassurance you were searching for. And you realize, in the hardest of times, you were the lighthouse all along.

I hope my lists have helped and comforted you while you endured your storm.

1.Don’t close your ears. Listen to what life is saying.

2.The only real movement disorder is failing to get up from whatever pulls us down.

3.Life is not about winning or losing, it is about accepting the challenge.

4.Sometimes knowing we’re not the only one going through a hard time is enough to comfort us through that hard time.

4.Value imperfections.

5.You’re often only one choice away from becoming the person you want to be.

6.Denial is the smoothest road to misery.

7. Stop longing for what was and what might never be and appreciate what is.

8. Gratitude, like an uninvited guest, can ruin a pity party.

9.A self-made victim is boring.

10. If today is not working, get some sleep, show up early tomorrow and get to work.

11. Character is strengthened by taking risks.

12. Don’t complain about the results of your deliberate choices.

13. The things you value are the sources of both happiness and sadness.

14. Sometimes, you have to be selfish. You have to solve your own problems first before you can help others solve theirs.

15. Slow and steady. This is not a race.

16. Hope, without action, quickly becomes a painful pang.

17. Parents often instruct their kids to stay still. Yet parents are almost never still. In hard times, parents should heed their own instruction.

18. Bad days are good days for setting goals.

19. If you wait for it, happiness will never find you.

20. You get to choose how you think.

21. You will overcome this, just as you have overcome everything else in your life.

22.Don’t take these hard times too seriously.

23. You’re going to be okay.

24. If you lose hope don’t worry. Look around. Hope is easily found.

25. Show up. Even on bad days. Even when it hurts. Even when no one seems to care. Even when no one seems to listen. Even when no one seems to understand. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re scared. Even in small ways. People are counting on you. People need you. Show up.

Be well,


Greetings to everyone who found me on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ataxia Clinic’s website! Thanks for stopping by. I have ataxia and though I’m not a doctor, I hope my words comfort, encourage, empower, and serve as good company on your journey.

Arriving Gracefully on 11/1/23!

August Book Promos for You:

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Recent letters you may enjoy:

Celebrate the Little Steps

Life is Change

Adversity Also Builds This


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:

1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
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

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