Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SOD: Overcoming Sickness and Exhaustion

I sit here at my computer, in bed, while my roommate sleeps in his bed on the opposite side of the room. My tired eyes argue for some rest after catching up on hours of reading, but all my mind can do is think back to all the others who put my petty tiredness to shame, making me re-evaluate my self-pity.

A lot of people tell me my generation has it the hardest. We live in the most dangerous times, with the highest responsibility, and most competitive markets to date. Global warming; overpopulation; oil crisis; war; recession; job outsourcing.

And they tell us we don't get enough time to enjoy life. Perhaps, but enjoying life won't necessarily get us out of this mythical bind. Ignoring it all, I get down my words and form ideas, not trying to figure out how to fix anything, or if anything needs to be fixed, but doing what I enjoy.

On the days I complain of too much work, or a lack of sleep, I try to remember what it's like to be sick and have to work . Not necessarily required to, per se, but rather committed to doing my work and then catching up on my sleep. Getting to the level of life threatening sickness while maintaining and leading a brigade of poorly-trained soldiers? Unfathomable. But if that's been done I can certainly get by on a little less sleep and a little more work.

There were many instances where Andrew Jackson was tested by difficult obstacles. Some of the most intense tests came well before he became president.

After taking a shot to the shoulder during a quarrel with subordinate Thomas Benton, Jackson suffered a fractured shoulder and almost fatal amounts of blood loss. With these wounds healing during a stay in the hospital Jackson began planning a retaliatory attack against the Creek Indians of what is now Alabama. A few weeks prior to being shot, the Creek Nation, aided by Great Britain, rebelled against encroaching American colonists. Once Jackson received news of this attack he promised vengeance for those who lost their lives.

With victory in the Creek Wars Jackson planned to continue his conquests even in the face of short supplies and little-to-no-food. And when his troops, working on expired contracts, tried to abandon Jackson he picked up his musket and threatened the lives of these men. Throughout all of these complaints Jackson kept quiet his suffering that resulted from dysentery, not to mention the starvation he dealt with alongside his troops.

It's not the body telling you you can't, it's the mind telling you you can.

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