Rough Seas Ahead – Part 1 of a series of 4

by Daniel O’shea

The Why
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Very recently, significant change has been a constant for me. I became a father for the first time. For family reasons, I left the British Military after almost nine years of service as an officer in the Royal Air Force. I emigrated away from my home, my country, my family and my friends. I changed careers twice this past year before I finally found where I belong. I am recovering from shoulder surgery, which forced me to abandon certain cathartic activities such as playing rugby. I have now lived in six countries (if you count military tours of six months or more) and am looking to purchase my first house (evoking Seas Ahead, a spell of homesickness).
At long last, I was ready for some consistency. Then, as I was about to begin acclimatization to my new status quo, a global pandemic broke out, re-prioritizing the world around us. Like everyone else, my small family and I sought to stay positive and to maintain a sense of hope about our future. However, it was a little trickier than it otherwise may have been as we had only very recently moved to the local area and had to rely on the kindness of extended family for a place to live. As much as we are sincerely grateful, no space to call our own during a time when we are indefinitely confined to collective solitude has increased emotional tensions. It has also allowed us to reflect and to introspect.
Change is one of the only constants that we can count on in life. But even in its constancy, it can be unexpectedly stressful. Especially when wrapped in uncertainty. I am particularly aware that many people are going through far more challenging circumstances than I am. I aim to help by recycling words and thoughts from greater minds. It has been said by many, including the Dali Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, that the main influences on our happiness are our ability to re-frame, to experience gratitude, and to be kind and generous. Using these and many other inspirational sources, I aim to deliberate over three broad thoughts. Each thought will have its own separate article centered around outlook, attitude and altruism respectively. These principles have helped me throughout my own transitions, and I hope that snippets may be of use to others.

If we know better – we can be better.

Here is a quick synopsis of upcoming columns:

  • Part 2: Re-frame your outlook.
    Objectively observe rather than subjectively perceive. Tie yourself to your efforts, not your outcomes. Fail fast and fail often. Replace expectations with noble intentions.
  • Part 3: Upgrade your attitude.
    You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails. Find satisfaction in dissatisfaction, certainty in uncertainty, stability in flux. Create purpose and practice gratitude.
  • Part 4: Connect with and support others.
    Every day is a new opportunity to begin again; to do better. Have a greater concern for others’ well-being whilst investing in yourself. Develop an empathy reflex.

“To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over.
It stands unmoved and the rage of the sea falls still around it.”
—Marcus Aurelius

Leave a Reply