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Adversity Can Elicit Great Strength

I can't really blame anyone but myself for not living on easy street. Those born under the sign of Aquarius can sometimes see the future. (Really. No... really , it's true.) And yet I don't play Lotto or Powerball or any of those games that could change my life. Set aside the slightly lunatic ravings of a January-born seer and it's still a strange perspective to have. I swear there's something deep inside me that doesn't want to hit it big.

When the jackpot gets up to those ridiculous numbers and people fantasize about what they would do with the winnings, I can't help but think how all that money could change things...and not necessarily for the better.

Isn't it true your true character and talents aren't revealed until you've been challenged? My husband thinks I'm crazy. There are things about yourself you likely don't realize are there because you faced adversity or challenges. In fact, look around your life: aren't the people you find the most interesting, most stimulating, most compassionate and often most inspirational the ones who had some tough patches in their lives? I'm not knocking those fortunate enough to have lived lives of placid, untroubled waters, but I do notice that those aren't the people I'm necessarily drawn to in life nor are they the ones who inspire me to dig deep into my own wellspring of possibility.

I believe we are all born with greatness inside. That greatness can be realized by touching the lives of many or just one, but in order to set it free, it's got to be awakened. It's of no use lying dormant in our soul and it's such a shame when it does. For some, the wake up call is something subtle -- perhaps their greatness lies close to the surface. For others, it takes a great shake -- some trouble or challenge that can't be ignored.

Yet for some people the wake up call may be something that gets repeated; it calls on you to build your endurance and respond to many challenges throughout your life. And while no one wishes for loss, hardship or misfortune to be the wake up call, for most of us, these things are inevitable to some degree. Frankly, a winning lottery ticket couldn't protect you anyway -- you might just trade one set of problems for another.

Whatever form that wake up call takes, I worry that if I hit the big jackpot, I might roll over and not hear it. Instead, I choose to be grateful for not only the many gifts I have been given in this life -- good health, wonderful family, friends and community, faith and optimism -- but also the adversity that has come my way. Perhaps because of it, the people and experiences in my life have been drawn to me, and I to them. Frankly, I wouldn't change a thing.

Editor's note: Fairfield, Conn.-based Linda Soper-Kolton is the owner and chef of GreenGourmetToGo in Bridgeport.

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