Finding Strength in Adversity

Jake Hutchings, U.S. Army veteran and executive vice president, sales, at Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary realized recently that life in lockdown felt … familiar.

“I asked my wife, Alison, to cut my hair,” he said. “We don’t have clippers, just a beard trimmer, so of course the haircut turned out unreasonable and too high. The haircut brought back memories of some of the ones I got when I was deployed in Iraq and there were no barbershops to be found, so we soldiers would cut each other’s hair.”

The similarities didn’t end there.

“Later, when Alison was preparing to go to the store, I was reminded of how we prepared before leaving the patrol base. We wouldn’t leave base without our IBA (individual body armor), Kevlar helmet, and M4 rifle. When you left “the wire,” you had a very specific reason to do so, otherwise you stayed put,” said Hutchings.

Now, instead of a weapon or Kevlar, we prepare with masks and gloves.

Because the enemy is invisible, our awareness becomes heightened: “Is that person too close to me?” “That person coughed, does that mean they’re sick?” “That person’s not wearing a mask. Are they a carrier?”

Even inanimate objects become suspect.

Living through a pandemic, it seems, puts one in a similar frame of mind as living in unfriendly territory. Safety and survival become the top priority and looking out for one another becomes a necessity.

As isolation fatigue sets in, many are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Others are feelings anxious and overwhelmed. Hutchings is no stranger to this. To him, maintaining peace-of-mind is all about the ability to put things into perspective.

“What I learned from deployment is that when you live in an unsafe environment, you just control what you can.”

So what can you control? Yourself, according to Hutchings. And in most cases, you can manage the safety of your family and home.

If there is an upside to any of this, it is that adversity breeds strength.

“When it’s all said and done, what we will find is that we’ve created strong connections over these huge obstacles,” Hutchings said. “People who go through any kind of hardship as a group find ways to band together, and I am not just referring to people who live together. I am talking about the community that is built when people come together to overcome.”

To read more of Hutching’s story and his advice on moving forward, read the full article here: [](