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Michael Foglietta's Blog

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  • Writer's pictureMichael Foglietta


Some might disagree with that statement. But there are so many different things that come to mind when we say challenges. Some people might say that getting that morning coffee from crowded Starbucks is a challenge. For others, it might be something like crossing the street to something as challenging as landing a man on the moon (minus the conspiracy theorists who don't believe in the moon landing of course).

We don't normally think that crossing the street as a challenge unless you try to cross while traffic is screaming by and dodging the cars. But what about someone who is blind, someone who can barely walk, or someone in a wheelchair? No, we don't think of those situations as being common. But trust me, there are people out there with those challenges. But those are the people I admire most. Simply because they are out there doing it, living life as best they can. Just like everyone else.

A lot of the time, overcoming a challenge is not what people are thinking. I'm late, this crosswalk is taking forever is what pops into our heads. Well, sorry, you should have left earlier. People do amazing things every single day, and these amazing things are simply not noticed. I mean, you don't have to give someone a trophy every time you spot someone doing something amazing. Simply acknowledging it in your own mind can be extremely satisfying.

We each have our own challenges we face all the time. Sometimes we just don't realize it or we don't recognize it as a challenge. We just go through life day by day and that can be enough for some people. For others, each minute can be a challenge.

For the disabled community, this is especially true. Each day IS a challenge. Some might be in pain, missing limbs, brain injuries, mental health, physical health, quadriplegic, and even for the families facing the challenge of taking care of their loved ones. Many people don't realize that it's sometimes a herculean effort to take care of their loved ones.

Life itself can be a huge challenge for individuals who were not taught proper coping mechanisms to be able to handle difficult situations. People might regress into drugs or alcohol to drown whatever pain they're not equipped to deal with. Environment can play a factor into life's big moments, should I go left at the fork or right at the fork? There are so many variables in life that can make it difficult to make the right decisions. Sometimes, no matter what choices we have, none of them have a good outcome. It's just the least objectionable choice. Those situations hurt the most.

But even the worst decisions can turn out to be the best decisions in the long run. When you move to a different state because your spouse has a dream and you want to support them. Then, less than a year later, that spouse serves you divorce papers. Now you're stuck somewhere where you have no friends and no family to support you. You're even disabled and can't do many activities. You don't work so it makes it difficult to meet people.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and giving up, you decide to go back to college and get a college degree. Neverminded how difficult it would be, what sacrifices would have to be made. You finish college with your new degree, challenge done. You're feeling pretty confident and decide that you want to go back to work, despite your disability. You start looking for jobs, applying to many different jobs. Rejection after rejection, pointless interview after pointless interview. You realize ageism and ableism are still prevalent.

One day you go to look at your emails and discover a job that you really wanted is inviting you for an interview. You don't get too excited, but it goes well and invites you back for another interview. You're starting to get excited and scared at the same time. What if I get the job? I haven't worked in 20 years. You think to yourself about being able to do the job with your disability. There's only one way to find out, take the job. Oh yeah, and you marry the woman you've been with for the last couple years who fully supports your decisions.

Challenges come in many shapes and sizes, failure is always a possibility. Failure is a word for people who give up. Not overcoming a challenge is not a failure, it is a learning experience. So the next time you don't overcome a challenge, accept the challenge again and learn why you didn't overcome the challenge so you can overcome it the next time.

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