I remember swimming in Lake Michigan one summer as a teenager. The waves were bigger than I’d ever seen them, and the warning flag was flapping brightly in the breeze. I went in the water and felt the undertow pull me down, and it was strong. Really, really strong. I was stronger. I pulled myself out of the water, but ended up probably 400 yards down the beach from where I’d entered the lake.

I remember thinking about how easy it would be for someone smaller than me, or someone who was a weaker swimmer, to just be swept up and away. It would be easy for someone to get tired, and, if nobody was watching or helping, they might eventually give up.

There has been a lot going on here. Some sad things, some scary things, some things that will improve and others that simply are what they are, and there’s nothing to be done. When I can look beyond these things, there are a million wonderful, beautiful things, too — amazing things are on the horizon. I’m lucky. We’re lucky. I know this.

But sometimes, it’s hard. Sometimes, if I didn’t have somebody watching or helping, I can see where it could drag me down beyond where I could pull myself back up. But I do have people. I have family and friends and a whole incredible support system. Plus, I’m tough. I am strong. On a good day, I might even be a bit of a bad ass, if I do say so myself.

Being strong doesn’t mean things are easy, but it means I can do it. In fact, right now, I’m not just pulling myself out of the waves; I’m swimming. It might be hard, but I’m moving in the right direction.