During the drive back from San Diego last night, my 21 y/o son and I had a conversation about fortitude. How this one acquaintance of ours had the opportunity to really do something wonderful, but instead the opportunity got snatched away from her.

I wondered if it had been snatched away because she continually talked about being so tired, so stressed out, so worn from doing this something wonderful (which made others in the story think – well, she’s not up to dealing with this something wonderful, hence the taking away of the opportunity).

And I wondered – this would have been the perfect time for her to show the world that she DID have it in her to do awesome things. To triumph over nature and adversity. She didn’t, and that boat sailed without her. (Metaphor.)

I don’t understand that mentality. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but when things start to fall apart, the LAST thing you do is fall apart. You hold in your gut, dig deep, and get everyone over the hump so to speak. Then after the crisis has passed – THEN you can fall apart.

When I mentioned all this to my son, he said that lots of people don’t have that ability to dig deep and maintain their sanity while the sky is falling and at the same time take care of everyone else so they don’t get a concussion. (Okay – maybe he didn’t put it quite like that. But he could have, because he’s damned creative.) Which I guess I knew already, but it made me sad.

What do you think? Do YOU have that internal fortitude? (I think of it as what got everyone through two world wars. Dig in, do what must be done type of thing.) Does everyone have it, but not believe that they do? Can it be taught, or ripped out of a person?

Picture of Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

Most important – is that kind of fortitude truly uncommon now? Have we as a society lost the art of doing more with less, and without whining about it? I’d love to know your opinion…