Reflecting on the 5 H's of life's hardships 

04/11/2023 06:07 PM Comment(s) By Jburns

Hiccups, Headaches, Hurdles, Hurricanes and the “Hell no’s”

For those of us who create blogs, the best we can do is share things from our personal experiences and perspectives and hope that there is a nugget in there that relates to what other people are experiencing too.  We, as humans, need a way to categorize what we’re feeling around whatever situations are occurring in our lives.  It’s a manner in which we can connect and find both common and uncommon experiences. Recently my son crashed while skiing in the backcountry with friends. He dislocated his shoulder pretty significantly and wrenched his knee on opposite sides.  Luckily, he had just completed his Wilderness 1st Responder class and was aware of what he needed to do to relocate his shoulder. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  He had to hike out because skiing was out of the question. I’m grateful for his friends who helped him out of this situation and successfully contacted search and rescue so they could transport him off the mountain and get him to the local hospital.  This felt big, it was big, and truth be told I was freaking out a bit. It could have been huge and so much worse if they hadn’t been prepared and knew what to do. 

It got me thinking about the hiccups, headaches, hurdles, hurricanes and the “hell no’s” in our lives. Each type can have an impact on our lives in a multitude of ways, both large and small. We all need methods to cope with these disturbances and challenges. How we approach them with our mindset is key. A bunch of little hiccups can feel like a hurricane. After that weekend with Nathan having to be rescued from the back country part of my big nutty brain started to ask/think about all the what ifs. Definitely a place you shouldn’t go. 

I could try to explain or define what all the H’s could look or feel like, but I know they are so different for each of us. What feels like a hiccup for me, could truly feel like a hurricane to someone else. For the past 10 years I have been working to cope with chronic pain both in my hip and back. It started with an injury, persisted after surgery and was exacerbated by a snow shoveling incident and, just for fun, add in a concussion (you can read more about that here).  I continue to look for ways to manage and cope with the pain without using hard core pain killers. Most of the time, movement, ibuprofen, distraction, massage, heat/cold, and some good bourbon usually do the trick. Some days though, it compiles and feels like a hurricane that won’t move out of the area.  I might get a bit of a break and then the other half of the storm rolls through. 

What I haven’t been brave enough to do is really share with folks how this hardship affects me most days. I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining when some folks have it much worse.  We all have our hardships to bear. Some are dealing with cancer, some are caregivers to folks with Alzheimer’s, some are fighting oppression and racism daily, some recently experienced a car accident, some may have had an important person in their life die, some may have recently had laws passed that have limited their freedoms, some are dealing with mental health issues, and there are so many more “some’s”. We’re all dealing with a multitude of different types of pain and we’re all looking for ways to cope, manage, learn from, alleviate and hopefully eliminate that pain. 

The interesting thing is that when we have the courage to reach out, we realize that we’re not alone with our H’s. We all have hiccups when we forget to do things we promised to. We all have headaches when we screw things up and make a mistake personally or professionally. We all face hurdles that require us to jump a little higher so as not to land on our face. We all face hurricanes when the discomfort and challenges build up to an almost insurmountable size and then eventually pass as we work through them. And then there all the “Oh Hell No’s” – too much for too long that almost takes us down in the process. I’m trying to be more proactive with my H’s.  I recently started therapy so I can proactively begin working on how to share my H’s in a way that I can better connect with others who might be experiencing something similar.  And so, I can offer my ear and shoulder to listen and share hope, when those I love and care about are experiencing their H’s too. 

Our hardships are certainly not the only thing we want to connect with others about because the joys are just as important. It’s wild how our hardships can become shared experiences and vulnerabilities that connect us deeply both in the moment and overtime. The gift then becomes finding the positive aspect, the lesson, or the proverbial lemonade in those interactions and connections.


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