Define adversity and explain why.
|Well, I looked at the link to definitions, and none seemed quite right. So I checked one of my dictionaries for the definition of adversity. I used the reprint of the American Dictionary of the English Language. I thought an old dictionary might have a different take on adversity. Here's the definition:
" An event, or series of events, which oppose success or desire; misfortune; calamity; affliction; distress; state of unhappiness."
I think that the word adversity needs a broader base for its definition. Adverse conditions can describe road traffic or weather. Those are conditions outside of my control that effect me only as much as I let them. If I can stay off the roads or out of the weather, I'm not troubled by them. I live near a major university, and our team's football games here cause huge traffic problems. For some people, it's only about traffic. For my husband and I, it means our local restaurant won't offer lunch items on the breakfast menu. My husband can't eat the breakfast items, so on those days he has no breakfast at all. It seems a bit much to take sometimes. That certainly opposes success or desire.
Then there's illnesses. This past year, my husband had a back injury that required surgery; my oldest sister is losing more of her memory to Alzheimer's disease; and my girlfriend dropped out of college on the first day of class due to pneumonia. These fall under the heading of misfortune and affliction.
There is also the adversity that comes with years of enduring an ongoing problem. I have epilepsy. I had my first seizure when I was three, and I think I had my stroke about then too. I wasn't properly diagnosed until I was thirteen. No one knew about my stroke then, and my parents were told I had Lupus. Lupus, at that time, was a death sentence. My parents thought I would be dead by age 16. That was, for them, a calamity.
I have Sturge-Weber syndrome. My husband researched that when we were dating, and strokes are common with the onset. Since I was a toddler, I should have died. So I actually avoided a calamity. So, how much adversity was there? A variable amount. Sometimes adversity can be reexamined and reclassified, which agrees with the need for a broader term.
Every day presents an opportunity for adversity to arise. Every piece of lost luggage or instance of car trouble is adversity. These things are distressing and can cause unhappiness, but often don't go any further. A series of misfortunes is worse, but can often be written off as " one of those days." Those are the adversities that are easiest to deal with, at least for me.
Adversity is always with us. It's the type that matters and the way we respond that matters.