Letter #50 to You: A Campaign for Resiliency

In my first letter of the year, I proclaimed, “Resiliency in 2023.”

Now, 50 weeks later, I find that statement a bit cringey. It sounds like trite, political jargon. As if Resiliency was running for public office and needed a red, white, and blue catchphrase to posterize outside a polling station to sway incoming voters.

Resiliency, like a politician, is leaned on more heavily and scrutinized more closely when things go wrong. Their clout is often measured by the ability to overcome challenges. And if they can successfully overcome these challenges, they are almost guaranteed reelection.

In January, I wrote:

“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 with 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.”

When I reflect on “Resiliency in 2023”, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, was right for the job. My 2023, like America in 1861, was a “multitude of maybes” that tested patience, conviction, hope, and love. Resiliency allowed me to move forward.

But thinking about it, 2023 was historically normal.

A year of everyday contradictions. Highs and lows, successes and failures, joy and pain, clarity and confusion, acceptance and denial, confidence and doubt, life and death, extraordinary falls and ordinary resurrections.

However, 2023 taught me that resiliency only starts when we resolve to accept the truth. And that we have the civic power to elect resiliency everyday. Yes, it takes daily suffrage but it’s a brave attempt to solve our contradictions and vote to move toward our most resilient, most democratic self.

Here’s some of my highs and lows of 2023:

March. A swollen right knee. Partially torn ligaments. Courtesy of a fall.
May. Broken right hand. Courtesy of a fall.
July. My family is literally holding me up in this picture.
August. Clark Able and I shining on a summer afternoon.
August. Johnny Walker enjoying some sand between his spokes.
September. The family and I celebrating my diagnosis-versary with a homemade cake.
October. Cindy and I after surviving a two mile hike in the Minnesota wilderness.
November. The catering spread celebrating the publication of my second book, Ordinary Hero.
November. The family after Chase and his soccer team won the Philadelphia City Championship Tournament.
December. The hardback version of Ordinary Hero achieved global distribution.
November. The leftovers of a Thanksgiving fall.
December. My first book, Bedtime Stories for the Living earned Amazon’s “Best Seller” status.

Like looking at unedited photographs, resiliency involves acknowledging the veracious facts of ourselves, our situation–the good, the bad, the ugly–without judging ourselves and with pledging allegiance to improvement.

But to be resilient requires you to understand both sides of the aisle and decide to function, like a leader, in a way that unifies the greater good. Resilient people elect to work hard to improve their attitude, deepen their empathy, broaden their perspectives, and strengthen their community.

And resilient people have the presidential wisdom to realize a house and heart divided against itself cannot stand.

As we speed toward a new year, have you considered a personal slogan for the 2024 campaign?

Maybe “Roar in 2024.” Or “Explore in 2024.” Or “Eat More Albacore in 2024.”

Obviously, your slogan doesn’t have to rhyme. (In fact, you might find it a bit annoying…like a letter overwrought with political lexicons😉.)

But you are your own candidate. You always have been. And a rhyming slogan is easy to remember, especially when it’s election day (which is everyday) and you’re confused, stressed and you’re inching toward the polling station to vote for a leader who, hopefully, can fill your heart with resiliency.

Be well,


Amazon Order Link!

Ordinary Hero is now available in hardback and available, upon request, in local bookstores or libraries, even if your local bookstore or library is in Peru.

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.

December 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 an awesome book promotions. Click the link below:

Cozy Up with these Memoirs, Biographies, Self-Help books and More!

Purchase Jay’s Debut Book,”Bedtime Stories for the Living” Exclusively at Amazon!

Recent letters you may enjoy:

Celebrating My Worst Day; Year 10

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.

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