I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth, one that was probably washed and
stored in the kitchen drawer for later use. My family was never destitute, but we were
lingering on the brink of financial tragedy for as long as I can remember. In any case,
growing up on Long Island was no picnic and I came to realize, at a young age, that life
just isn’t meant to be easy.
I believe in inconvenience. It defines my life and despite its rather negative
reputation, it’s not such a bad thing. The crux of “The Art of War”, a novel by Sun Tzu, is
that victory comes from finding opportunity in problems. It sounds like optimistic
bullshit, but it works. Problems, hardship and a bit of tragedy make a concoction potent
enough to bring the strongest people to their knees, but like any poison, the body can
become tolerant when exposed to it over time. Little doses of inconvenience have made
me a morally stable person, who rarely finds something too difficult to cope with.
When I was a little girl, I lived next door to a wealthy family. They only had one
daughter, so they were able to spoil her sufficiently. My family of six was not in such a
position. We went through many inconveniences, so to speak. My father had much
difficulty holding on to various factory jobs, the mortgage was due, and the living costs
were a bit out of our budget. We had to move in with my grandmother, and this
inconvenienced my family terribly. My mom lost her job at the private school I was
attending for free and I wound up being thrown into public education in the seventh
grade. The transition from my cozy little Christian school to the vastness of public school
taught me how to change and adapt when life threw the most extreme curve balls, the
ones that catch the fat kid in left field off guard and drill him in the temple.
As I grew older, I attempted -yet again- to compete with my peers. However, my
parents struggled to come up with money for my various teenage needs. I got my first job
at fifteen and while my friends attended high school dances and parties, I worked at a
Chinese take out restaurant. My name fit in better then my blonde hair did. The
inconvenience of having to work six days a week taught me a life lesson that my peers
wouldn’t learn until later… maybe I spent too much time reading fortune cookies.
It is instinct for humans to abhor anything that interferes with their carefully
laid out plans. It’s natural to crave luxury and ease. People love easy. That’s why there
are prostitutes and McDonald’s on every other street corner. But difficulty makes the
outcome so much sweeter. When you’ve tasted the staleness of life, you treasure and
appreciate the good things that come from it that much more. When your hands become
calloused from constant labor and toil, the fruits of that hard work are so much more rich
and satisfying. Inconvenience forces a person to work harder, to adapt to situations that
occur throughout life and to survive. So, instead of whining and complaining about an
inconvenient situation, look at it from a different angle and try to find opportunity
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