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What Do You Do With Despair?


By Frosty Wooldridge


On your life journey, different events take hold of you whether you like it or not. One day you can be riding high; and the next, you feel lower than a well-digger’s rear end at the bottom of a mineshaft.

(Yellowstone Falls along the Continental Divide where cyclists and backpackers stop for a view.)  Photography by Frosty Wooldridge

Life doesn’t care about your looks, brains, wealth, status or age. Life treats you equally no matter your race, creed, color or national origins. Life teaches you lessons in order to prepare you for the next lesson. Once you learn the lesson, you may advance toward the next class. If you don’t learn the lesson, it revisits you until you master it.

During that lesson, you possess several choices to overcome a challenge or wallow in it. Please realize that each lesson provides you a personal evolution into your maximum self. If you look around you, many individuals chose a diminished path through life. You may find them on street corners with a sign or you might find them in dead-end jobs because they neglected their studies in school. Many can’t help what happened to them. Still others may be driving in fancy cars with high-powered jobs.

What do all humans share on their life paths? Answer: everyone at some point in life faces “despair.”

What causes despair? It can be loss of a loved one, spouse, best friend, athletic contest, money or sense of self. It can stem from insecurity, lack of self-confidence or rejection. It may arrive in the form of a terrible event or multiple tragedies.

You may feel hurt, lost and confused. You may feel betrayed, cheated, put down or scorned.

One of the things that I share with audiences who attend my program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: Living Your Life on Your Own Terms---I tell them, “Accept your looks, your weight, your body type, your build, your height, your intellect, your hair—in other words accept yourself as the most unique human being on this planet---because you are the only you in the universe. Never to be repeated! It’s a sacred trust of being alive.”

Once you understand that being alive offers you every form of creative process and hardship during the journey, you enable yourself to make a better run of it.

For instance, do you quit when defeated once, twice or three times? Or, do you use defeat to plan and work for your next victory. Do you allow others’ opinions to bind you? Do you hold a grudge forever against someone?

Always remember this: people can suffer from a tragic event; but they choose to keep suffering. They may opt to move forward.

For example: Steve Fugate suffered a divorce, but enjoyed two children from his marriage. But, as his boy journeyed into his twenties, the young man got into drugs and ultimately, committed suicide. That event racked Steve’s soul.

He didn’t know how to handle it, so he heaved a backpack onto his shoulders to pack the Appalachia Trail, which runs 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine. He called it, “Trail Therapy.” Along the way, his twenty-something daughter died of a prescription drug.

From that time of horrendous grief, he decided to keep walking. He hiked 21 states and over 20,000 miles. On the top of his backpack, he carries a big sign in red letters: Love Life. He aims to spread awareness about suicide and its prevention.

Along his path Steve Fugate opened himself to four positive aspects of living:

  • Keep your life open to hope. Give yourself a goal, a journey, and a reason to wake up each day and get on with your life. It may be helping little children, aiding in a soup kitchen, volunteer teaching in the inner city or picking up trash along a river. It may be adventure in any form.

  • If you’re not sure of what to do, ask for assistance. Ask friends and professionals. Read books on dealing with despair. In order to find yourself and get back to yourself, ask for others to help you.

  • Engage your heart with purpose. Your heart provides you with the greatest incentive for living, loving and laughing. Employ all the positive energy vibrations of elevated thought.

  • A situation, event or condition does not define you. Friends or enemies don’t define you. You choose to define your life. Open to that thing called love, forgiveness and understanding. Like Fugate, decide to “hike” toward your destiny.

As you read this vignette, Steve Fugate sits by a campfire or walks along a wilderness trail. The wind plays in his hair and the rain cleans the air he breathes. He may not understand his tragedies, but he chooses “Trail Therapy” toward his destiny.

You enjoy the same choices for your calling.

Steve Fugate website:


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