Hard Times in Life Essay: What People Don't Realize

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Originally published Apr 21, 2021, updated May 11, 2021
Hard Times in Life Essay: What People Don't Realize

Every day, regular people have to surmount the most heart-wrenching situations in order to realize the hope of better days left to come. Suffering has always been a part of daily life, forming a big part of philosophy. The first thing Tripitaka states as the Buddha's teachings is simply, "Life is suffering."

People spend so much time trying to run away from the hard times in life, refusing to realize that they a big part of existence, that they invariably end up pushing themselves towards unhappiness.

When enduring hard times, people inevitably turn to things and people that will offer them some solace. Self-help books are flying out of the shelves faster than people can get their hands on them. This perpetual need for positivity has crystallized into an unstoppable desire and is being taken advantage of by these many self-help gurus.

All that these books do is regurgitate, in probably simpler language, what the Buddha said all that time ago. Rough times can't be sidestepped. All you need to get through them is the comfort of your loved ones, be it a friend or family, and change your point of view on the matter. The secret to surviving hard times is to take things step by step - something that gets easily forgotten by people in this age of utilitarianism and social media-led instant gratification.

The following sample essay will illustrate the first-hand experience of hard times.

Hard Times: A Story in Motion - Essay Sample

Considering the truly difficult times in life is actually very easy. Reminiscing on tough times will usually bring back unfortunate memories and feelings, and you will never truly be rid of them. The worse the experience, the stronger it sticks out in your mind, the easier it is to remember. Personally, the most difficult time of my entire life was the first few days after my father's bicycle incident.

For almost three days, I really could not check in with my father, who had gotten struck head-on by a red Chev truck. It had been truly the most difficult thing I've ever experienced, not knowing whether I would see him alive once again. 

It started off like any typical Wednesday. I had just gotten home from the express choral competition in Knutson, and my father was setting off on his regular Tuesday nighttime ride. My wife, Louisa, and I came home around six o'clock, just in time to see my mom popping out the door sobbing. This was one of the very few times I had seen my mom weep.

Obviously curious - and a little bit shook - about why my mother was sobbing, I asked her what was wrong. All she could say was, "Your dad's been hit." 

It was a little while until her words sunk in, but after a few seconds, I fully comprehended exactly what she meant. It was really gut-wrenching. She told my siblings and me that other visitors were not allowed at the hospital with her, and that's when I broke down.

It was so nerve-wracking to think of what all was going on at the hospital and whether or not my father would be fine. The next day or two weren't any better. My uncle, aunt, cousin, and grandmother, all of whom were on my mom's side of the family, came and stayed the night with us. My mom, though, slept at the hospital. 

It was great to have the support of my children being there, but it was hard since I had to teach high school the following day. Enduring every single one of those horrible emotions and thoughts throughout the day really took a toll on my health.

My other grandma and granddaddy, uncle and aunt, coming from my father's side, arrived that Friday. Again, I was thankful to have so many caring family members around, but it was still too much. Going three days and nights without seeing my father was awful. Constantly thinking about what all had happened to him brought tears to my eyes. The worst feeling was knowing that I could not get bummed out anymore. Staying strong in difficult situations takes a lot out of you.

Seconds, minutes, and hours all felt like the passage of months and years. That Friday was the first time I got the chance to see him. Seeing my father lying on a hospital bed, bruised from head to toes, with a busted leg and broken neck, truly humbled me.

I try to under no circumstances take everything I have for granted anymore, and I frequently remind myself that I was certainly blessed by God to still have my father around despite everything he had to go through.

What Can We Learn From This Essay Example?

Hard times are necessary because they make us better. They make us stronger. And if you refer to the above essay example, you will see that the writer did not triumph all on his own. You are not alone, either, no matter how much you think it is true.

The trials we face are only there, so we emerge as kinder, wiser beings that can extend the kindness we received from our loved ones to others in need. In the essay example, the author repeatedly expresses his gratitude for the arrival of his family members, his wife, and his kids. He would not have made it alone. We, as humans, are not designed to function in solitude. We need others for the sake of our well-being.

In Charles Dickens' Hard Times, the archetypal novel about this theme, we see clearly through the struggles faced by Mr. Gradgrind in his family life that it is only through feeling, accepting, and working through great pains that we emerge as stronger and wiser human beings. Beings capable of empathy and love, beings capable of overcoming sorrow and hard times.

How to Write About Hard Times

Writing about your own experiences can be a very vulnerable experience, and that is something you need to embrace when writing an essay about hard times. Charles Dickens mostly wrote about his own experiences in his masterpieces like Oliver Twist or David Copperfield. What makes them so popular?

Well, the secret lies in humanizing the characters. Like in the sample essay, you have to talk about an experience that most people can empathize with. People don't have to undergo the same trials as you in order to put themselves in your shoes. You need them to imagine what I must have been like. If you can do that, then you're there.

Masters of the craft like Dickens and Dostoyevsky are able to make you root for their main characters by simply making their sufferings relatable. Losing a parent, seeing a friend suffer, losing your job - these are all things that people know what it's like to go through. You have to put your spin on the event and make it worth caring about. 

Here are some topics you might want to explore:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Communicating Hard Times
  • Life Beyond Pain: How to Deal with Hard Times
  • A Story of Thriving Despite Pain
  • Why Tough Times Don't Last
  • How to Make People Feel Your Pain Through Writing

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