❝That which does not kill us makes us stronger.❞ -Friedrich Nietzsche
I've got my popcorn in hand as I grab my seat in the theater. It's 40 years from now, and I'm gathering with my closest friends and family members to watch the story of my life.
As we watch the movie, one thing becomes painfully clear. I notice that there have been many challenges and struggles throughout my life. There have been stressful times. I've experienced painful losses. I've been angry, sad, frustrated, afraid, embarrassed, and envious.
As these scenes play out on the screen, I can't help but remember how awful I felt during those moments. I still feel some residual emotions as I watch, hoping my friends and family aren't judging me as they watch the movie. Past Me was angry when someone stole his idea, sad when he was burned out with no direction in college, frustrated when he couldn't figure out how to meditate, afraid of what would happen when he quit his toxic job, embarrassed when he got ripped apart during the question and answer portion of a presentation, and envious as he watched less qualified people thrive.
While watching the movie, I want nothing more than to go back in time to get Past Me out of those situations. Past Me did not want to experience the suffering. What he wished for was for an easy life. He wanted to be on Easy Street. He thought that perhaps Easy Street was just up ahead.
But Easy Street never came. The character in my life movie always had problems or hurdles to overcome. Then it finally occurs to me that I am who I am only because those things happened. I am stronger, smarter, more empathetic, more skilled, and more sympathetic because and only because I had the opportunity to overcome challenges.
Everyone seems to wish for a life without struggle, but a meaningful life is meaningful because of struggle.