Today is definitely in the top ten of worst days in my life, a day that no firefighter wants to face. For a breed of person that often finds themselves fighting the odds and yet are unwilling or unable to give up; leaving the line seems unbearable.
I recently found out that I have a condition that makes it extremely painful to walk which makes wearing fire boots seem like some ancient torture device. Throughout the entire ordeal I have wrestled with the idea of having to leave something I love. Beyond just having an outlet for how I am feeling, I wanted to share this experience to make a point and maybe reassure myself that things will be ok.
Many of my coworkers didn’t know how to react to the news any better than I do now. This problem like all problems faced by fire officers is not beyond being overcome through tenacity and maintaining hope. This particular problem seems like the end of the world today but I know in a few years may be the beginning of something better.
The point that I am trying to make is that whether it’s a medical problem, financial issues, or some other life altering event; the need to take a structured approach is appropriate. Like any other curve-ball thrown at us on an emergency scene, life’s emergencies need to be evaluated, mitigated, and restored back to the best condition possible. The biggest benefit to being in the fire service is that at the end of the day you never have to face your problems alone.
I often tell people when I teach the lesson concerning the wellness of first responders to know when to seek help. Often just sharing your problem with someone is enough to give you room to breathe and look at your options. Don’t put on the blinders and face any problem with tunnel vision. Anchor yourself to someone or something that can weather the coming storm and prepare to face adversity with open options. For many there is nothing stronger than the desire to succeed. Life wouldn’t be worth living if everything was handed to you on a silver platter. Embrace your adversity and above all, never give up!
I close this posting with a quote that has helped me when things looked the worst….
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
- Thomas Edison