My Favorite Thing about Humanity
Twenty-two years ago, on the soft September 11th morning, I raced across my college campus to Accounting 101.
A class that confused and frustrated me so much a few weeks later, I dropped it. And to this day, it was the only college course I ever dropped.
Outside the library stood a loose circle of students and teachers. They held hands, bowed their heads, and someone spoke in a low voice, “Our Father, who art in heaven… .” I passed a bench where two men, both wearing dress shirts and ties, sat with their arms draped across each other’s shoulders. Crying.
I tossed open the doors to the brick building where Accounting 101 was held and a young man I never saw before, and have never seen since, looked at me with big, wet brown eyes and said, “Oh my God.”
Always a risk, but if you brave up and read or watch or listen to the world news today, it’s not good. Wars, volcanic eruptions, drug use epidemics, global warming, uncontrollable wildfires, historic flooding, historic draughts, historic earthquakes.
However, despite historic calamities, humanity has a deep, documented history of triumphing over such calamities. Humanity’s willingness to endure tragedy is the reason why I’m here and you’re here and everyone else is still here.
The thing I like most about humanity is our resiliency.
No matter the threat, no matter the suffering, our willingness to knuckle-up and just-keep-going has sustained us for 5 million years and counting. I have witnessed, I’m sure you have, our ability to rebuild our cities, our businesses, and ourselves after suffering catastrophe.
Circumstances change. Hardships come and go. To be human is to suffer. But below our soft flesh lies a hard, muscular stubbornness. An uncompromising resilience and spirit to face anything that comes our way. And how we endure right now maps our future suffering.
We can’t see what’s coming. We don’t know what hardships await. All we have is the resiliency that has always been encoded deep in our DNA.
On this day, I have a simple wish for you: I wish you resilience. I wish you strength and courage to keep going. To triumph over the obstacles that burden you. To recognize you’re more tenacious, more resourceful than you ever realized.
Unless you’re taking Accounting 101.
Because if you are, I’d advise you to give up and drop that burden immediately.
Before I go, I need your help.
To celebrate my 10 year diagnosis-versary (September 4), International Ataxia Awareness Day (September 25), the release of my new book Ordinary Hero (November 1), and The National Ataxia Foundation’s upcoming “Hike for Mike” event, I’m participating in an exclusive NAF fundraising campaign.
My goal is to increase Ataxia awareness and raise $5,000 to accelerate finding a cure for Ataxia.
Upon making a donation, you will receive two chapters from my upcoming book Ordinary Hero, which is set to be released on November 1, 2023. Using my misfortune I explore the age-old question, “Does adversity build character?” It’s a book that brings comfort, insight, and might just change your perspective on misfortune.
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!
September 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 in two awesome book promotions. Click the link below:
Recent letters you may enjoy:
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