Embrace life in the midst of challenges

By: By Angela Ponivas, M.S.W. Special to The News Messenger
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Do you remember the movie Forrest Gump? In it, Forrest states, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.”

This metaphor always makes me smile and it contains great wisdom.  Just like when you choose a piece of chocolate from an assortment, and you are uncertain of whether you will like it, so is life. We make choices, but life contains many uncertainties and is very unpredictable.  

Nothing can ensure the future will be like we imagine it to be. For example, when a person chooses an educational path, there is no guarantee there will be a job waiting on the other side. Some of us might think life is unfair in this way but learning to deal with what is unfair is part of life’s challenge.

Another way to look at life is to consider it as an adventure, and though at times we prefer the predictable positive outcome, the truth is life would be so very boring if it was predictable. We cannot appreciate the highs if we do not experience the lows.

Many of us like adventure but some of us would choose to live our adventures through others. We may want to live it through a movie, through a book, through a video game, through a sporting event and/or through another person. Although watching or reading an adventure is fun, a truly full life that is lived is a life that doesn’t just watch the adventure but embraces the adventure.

In every good adventure story, we come to expect the unexpected. We learn to get up when we’ve been knocked down. We learn that failure is just as important as success.

I have always enjoyed watching biographies of successful people. In every successful story, great accomplishment is typically preceded by failure.

As we overcome failure and disappointment, we build strength and resiliency. Overcoming means we choose to learn from failure and disappointment and not give up on life. Overcoming means we choose to persevere through adversity.

Life is unpredictable and we cannot control the outcomes. We do our best to make good choices, but in the end, it can be very unfair.

Still, it is up to each individual to choose to make the most out of what life brings. Embrace it, accept it, be thankful in it, grow from it, persevere through it and you will overcome every challenge.

If you approach life in this way, you will come to the end of your life knowing you have lived life to the fullest.

If you approach life in defeat, despair and bitterness because life was unfair, then you will lack the courage and enthusiasm necessary to experience the highs that life has just around the corner.

Life can be a positive adventure but it is important we approach life with a positive outlook, understanding the highs and lows are necessary and, in most cases, good for us.

No matter what, don’t give up! The best is yet to come.


Angela Ponivas, M.S.W., is the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center’s executive director. Her phone is 645-3300; address is 427 A St., Suite 400; and web site is