Reflecting on the challenges faced — and those ahead

It just so happens I have been thinking about the challenges of life lately.

One of the most helpful discussions I ever read about living was written by American psychiatrist Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Travelled.

It must be 30 years or more since I first read Peck but the opening sentence in that book, "Life is difficult", has stuck with me.

It sounds a rather pessimistic proposition to start a book but actually it is a very freeing one.

Peck goes on to discuss how if we understand that life is difficult and come to terms with that, we will cope much better with the challenging and hard things we face.

The fact life is difficult loses its power over us and we can get on with living.

I agree with his thoughts and have found them to be true and helpful.

I have also found in the hard times I have learned or grown the skills that have developed my character.

However, if you look around this world we live in, it is not just human beings who have challenges in life.

Plants and creatures also grapple with factors outside their control to complete their life cycles.

Seeds struggle to break free of the coat they are enclosed in so they can grow.

Entering the world is no easy matter for many animals, including their mothers, and then they spend their usually short lives competing to survive and avoiding predators.

Plants, except the weeds in my garden that flourish in all conditions, contend with weather of many descriptions, soil types, other plants and insects to reach maturity.

Life and death and struggling to endure are constant features of life on this planet.

I think this is very helpful to remember as we face the start of a new year.

There will be hard times ahead of us. There will be good times ahead of us.

We will win some and lose some.

At the end of the year with a sigh of relief we will look back and marvel how we got through.

Then with the sense of having a clean slate, we will start again, another year older and hopefully wiser.