I’d say neither it’s what you make of it. I know that’s cliche but…
I was speaking with Amy another army wife. (Yes I did ask her if I could use her first name in this post.) Let me tell you a bit about Amy. Oh forget the telling let me show you in literary terms.
At 7am on a Saturday morning I knocked, well banged on Amy’s door. I was certain I’d woken them but that couldn’t be helped. I was holding an infant (not mine) in a carseat going I need your help. Amy’s two older children stumbled down to the door to see what was going on, then went and turned on cartoons. “I need your help with this baby.” I said. There had been a medical issue with the mother of the small child and I was not set up for caring for an infant, either physically or mentally. Amy smiled and took the infant carseat and all welcoming me into their home. Her hubby put on some much needed coffee. I explained the whole situation. Amy happily agreed to watch the little one while the rest of us took care of the family. I was sleep deprived devouring coffee at their house, while Amy tended to the infant. Amy was and still is a mother of three. Her youngest was a few months older than the infant I showed up with, so she had all of the baby stuff. (crib etc)
Well as happens in Army life her husband was set to deploy, their first. She decided to move home. She regretted this soon after but, moving back was more hassle than it was worth so she was stuck making the best of it. I had advised her to stay busy above all else, and helped her set up a skype account. Trust me skype is the best friend to a military family that has been separated by distance.
In the time her husband has been away I have watched Amy grow stronger. While she can’t wait until her husband returns she is amazed at what she has accomplished by taking the lemons that life dealt her and adding some perseverance. Her oldest son is almost done with kindergarten and ready for the first grade. Her younger son is learning to be indepensant from big brother. Her daughter the youngest of the bunch is walking and talking now. Amy is almost finished with her training to become a pharmacy technician. Her husband has re-enlisted, and I smiled when I found out they will be joining us in a little over a year.
Why did I explain all of this?
Amy has been faced with a number of challenges during the deployment, but that is standard for a deployment. She has also found a new sense of self worth and self confidence, she no longer fears the unknown.
While life may not be easy I firmly believe that we learn and grow from the challenges in life. Just think about your favorite author if they had not been challenged by something would they have written your favorite book? A classic example is author Earnest Hemingway, he faced a life filled with challenges, and wrote some classic works that are still read to this day.
What challenges in your life can you use to enhance your writing? It may simply being able to clearly write about the feelings of despair, or how your main character can recover from their challenges and grow. If you the author had not faced challenges, your characters would not be as well developed as they could be.