Recently, I celebrated a birthday. Typically, this is a joyous time, and I have many things to be grateful for. However, this birthday comes during a difficult year. As my wife and I were discussing this the other day, I realized that life can be a lot like the Atari game ‘Asteroids’.

Atari Asteroids

You, as the ship, must be able to re-orient and overcome challenges (blast asteroids) frequently and rapidly. These challenges often have side effects (asteroids’ debris) that must also be overcome to truly put the challenge behind you. As the game (your life) continues, the challenges are larger and more frequent. Sometimes, it seems like there are so many challenges facing you, that you lose control of the ship and start flailing around in every direction.

This has adequately described my year, during which turmoil has arisen from deaths in both families, work uncertainty, a move several hundred miles away from home, the challenges of raising a young child, and dealing with imposter syndrome the whole time. My ship is spinning in all directions and the asteroids are closing in.

All hope is not lost. I have engaged the thrusters, begun firing on every rotation, and the asteroids are starting to break down. To be successful at the game, you have to recognize when to confront a challenge head-on and when to sidestep a challenge for later on. You will overcome the most immediate challenges, but more will always be coming at you. This is not a bad thing.

You gain strength and confidence from overcoming adversity. Your skill increases. You are faster, smarter, agile. These are all good qualities and the opposite of the qualities of an uncomplicated existence. When challenges threaten to overwhelm you, remember that you will emerge not only victorious, but harder, better, faster, and stronger.

My introduction to Daft Punk

Keep those thrusters firing!

Update October 7, 2016: Exercise! Exercise is the key to giving yourself the strength to overcome challenges. Move a little bit - every day - even if it’s only a little bit.