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I can do anything for thirty minutes

“Oh, I can do anything for thirty minutes,” my sage of a friend, Amy, said just as the shot signaled the start of our triathlon swim. She was, in that moment, referring to whatever discomfort that event might entail, but the infinite application of her words hit me like a thunderbolt. I have repeated them to myself like a mantra time and time and time again.

Tripping on my own tongue in court for the 100th time on any given day “I can do anything for thirty minutes;” having challenging conversations with survivors of violent crime “I can do anything for thirty minutes;” tackling mundane and frustrating tasks like standing in line at Walmart “I can do anything for thirty minutes.”

There is no magic in the thirty-minute increment. It is merely a reminder that the discomfort I am experiencing (be it physical pain, anxiety, shame, sadness, fear, confusion) is temporary. If I allow myself to feel discomfort and not try to numb it or run from it, I will inevitably feel (and occasionally, fumble) my way through.  We are all so much stronger, and braver, and capable, and resilient than we know.  Challenging circumstances give us opportunities to prove that to ourselves and each other.