Playing with a Bad Hand

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Playing with a Bad Hand

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Alexander Krusec
May 2020
Pittsburgh, PA.
I’ve always liked using gambling terms to describe my life. Things like “I got dealt a bad hand” or “quite while you’re ahead” always rolled off the tongue well, and more than that they were effective at describing the situation. Unfortunately, there wasn’t exactly a good poker term for a global pandemic.
The pandemic was bad timing on my part. I won’t get into the details, but my life in high school wasn’t the best, especially during my junior and senior years. To say I was severely depressed during those years would be an understatement, and I spent a good chunk of my free time crawling out of a hole of self-hate. And just as I was starting to not only feel better, but be better, my school let the student body know that we were going home for two weeks. Then a month. Then the rest of the year.
I’ve always considered myself to have extremely bad luck. Given my track record, I always guessed something bad was going to happen, and often it did. That was my life, and I had always just accepted things for how they were. For the pandemic, that was the plan. I was just going to accept the hand I was dealt and try my best to play it. Luckily for me, things changed.
I don’t know what it was, but one day in May I jwoke up one day and I had stopped worrying about things, stopped obsessing about my own bad luck. I went to my grocery store job that day and for whatever reason I just did better. I did a good job that day despite the fact that the store’s shipment came in about two hours late. It was as I was driving home when I realized that my life did not have to be define by what happened to me, but rather what I did in response.
I could name off a dozen different books and movies that have the exact same message of “persevering through adversity no matter what”, but the movies don’t hit as hard as a real-life epiphany. Of course, I wasn’t expecting my life to change in a used Honda Civic, but the fact of the matter was that the message finally hit me. Despite all that had happened to me, from my own depression to a pandemic, the thing that mattered was that I was still standing.
There’s a great quote from the video game Destiny 2 that describes the type of resolve and will I now strive to have. It’s message is simple: don’t let the darkness in our lives break us, and as the pandemic still rages on a year later, it's a message everyone can use in these times.
“I am a wall. And walls don’t move. Because walls don’t care.”

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This item was submitted on September 18, 2021 by Alexander Krusec using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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