Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Adversity and Attitude

Funny how life can change dramatically in the blink of an eye. One decision can become the catalyst for a chain of events that have the potential of turning your whole world upsidedown.


I wasn’t in El Salvador 2 days on a visit with my son and his fiance when we drove to the beach with all our things in his pick-up truck.  The plan was to stop at a scenic beach site near my hotel and take engagement photos for their upcoming wedding invitations.  This was the main reason for my visit. Not thinking anything of it we took our bags, passports, and unfortunately my computer was in my bag and locked them in his cab, which by the way had tinted glass windows that were difficult to see through. Off we went to the beach and had great fun taking a variety of photos of the happy couple.


An hour into the shoot Adam went back to his truck for something and came running back in a frantic state screaming that his car was broken into. My first reaction was that he was kidding – just playing a joke on me.  I walked to the truck  parked just around the corner from the small, rustic beach resort and saw the broken glass and busted out window.  I immediately knew my vacation was over and was quickly turning into a nightmare.  Luckily I still had my wallet and camera, but all our clothes for the trip, extra cash, passports, mac laptop, Iphones and documents were gone.

This post is not meant to be a recount of the events that transpired after the robbery. These things happen day in and day out all over the world.  Sure I was very angry and distressed about our situation. Especially the fact that I lost my passport and computer.  I teach online and must have a computer to do my work.

This traumatic event got me thinking how there are things to be learned from adversity.  As I made mental notes of the items I lost it eventually became evident to me that most of it was just “stuff”. Things that could be replaced.  Sure it was a huge inconvenience and some of my computer files are gone forever, however in the big scheme of life its all still “material stuff” compared to what so many people in this world must endure day in and day out.

As the days go by since the robbery I’ve become more introspective about this event. It was a “wake up call” for me to take stock in what is truly important in this short life. In the next few weeks I’ll replace the things I truly need and in 6 months I’ll be sharing this story with friends at the pub over a beer.  Yes…it will be a story to tell, but in the big scheme of things I will not be dramatically impacted other than a hit to my bank account.

I do believe things happen to us for a reason. I believe there are lessons to be learned when we are experiencing turmoil and set-backs in our lives.  A positive attitude can help us navigate the worst of circumstances.   The lesson here is about HOW we deal the the adversity, trauma and the valley’s that confront us.

Driving back from the beach this past weekend after the robbery I must admit I was very upset and stressed, yet the event forced me to put it into proper perspective. All of a sudden I was more hyper-aware of the street people that we passed, the homeless guy sitting by the side of the road and the little girl who came up to our window begging for change when we stopped for a light.

Nobody gets through this life unscathed by pain, discomfort, illness, divorce, death, theft, etc. Its all in how we choose to deal with these unfortunate tragedies and setbacks that confront us as we journey through life.

It hit me like a ton of bricks last night while playing scrabble after dinner with my son and his lovely fiance. Those moments playing that game and laughing and joking around were what  is really important. Our relationships…..friends, family and loved ones.



5 comments on “Adversity and Attitude

  1. Shawn
    January 22, 2015

    Perfectly said and written as always. Thank you for the eye opener.

  2. Jake Davis
    January 22, 2015

    Love it. Nicely said. Sorry to hear the bad news, but glad you could take away something positive.

  3. Charlie
    January 22, 2015

    Sorry for your misfortune, Patrick. I’ve had similar experiences and have had to come to the same conclusion. You can’t go back and do things differently and it’s hard to know if these things can even be avoided. The one ultimate truth is that such material losses are quite annoying, but really not much more than that. What really counts comes down to the people in your life, your health and well being…..and really not much more than that! Don’t forget, with age comes wisdom!
    Charlie Strange

  4. Patrick Keough
    January 23, 2015

    Thanks everyone! We are slowly replacing the most important items like passports and Adam is getting a new drivers license. It is a huge hassle but as always things could be much worse and someone could have been hurt. I am heading home to NC on Tuesday.

  5. Adrienne
    February 1, 2015

    Patrick, I’m sorry to hear of your unfortunate and inconvenient incident. I can imagine the frustration I would feel had it happened to me. You’re right, it is just stuff. We have become so attached to our stuff these days.
    I am really enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing. You are wonderful.

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2015 by in Keough Journal, Travel and tagged , , , , .
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