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When Life Gives You Boulders, Make Landmarks

Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

Mental health is an integral part of an individual leading a happy and fulfilling life. With World Mental Health Day being in October, this is the perfect time to raise awareness and think about mental and physical wellness. In this day and age, we are always paying attention to and worried about losing weight, being fit, getting toned…but what about mental and emotional fitness? When you work out, your body reaps positive results. Similarly, when you pay attention to and practice emotional fitness, you enable yourself to keep a positive outlook even when life gets tough. Neuroscientific research proves that our heads are not on a swivel and that the mind and body are exquisitely interwoven systems that are constantly in dialogue with one another. Although life does happen to all of us, that does not mean that it has to stop. Everyone at times is subject to the whims of a randomly cruel universe, and life is all about perspective or the way you choose to look at its circumstances. A recent event that took place in Colorado speaks to perspective and how to turn a bad situation into something positive.

Recently, in Colorado, two massive boulders fell off of a cliff and hurled themselves onto Highway 145, which shut down traffic, unexpectedly trapped people in towns they didn’t want to be in and altered their plans. There are many different ways to view this situation, but Colorado found an “ingenious” way to deal with the rocks and also “offered a useful philosophical lesson for humanity.” The way in which Colorado dealt with this issue is the perfect example of utilizing and maintaining strong emotional fitness.

The smaller of the two boulders, weighing at 2.3 million pounds, blew up and corroded into a bunch of pieces, making it easier to deal with and dispose of. Sometimes when it comes to life’s issues, things need to explode before they can get better – this may mean ending a relationship, quitting a job or making a big life change even when you don’t have a plan B.

Much to their dismay, the Colorado Department of Transportation still had to deal with the larger boulder, which weighed 8.5 million pounds. In order to have it disposed of, it would have cost tax payers $200,000 (according to Press International). Some of the things we deal with in life are similar to this – extremely big and heavy. The message Colorado sends with the conclusion they came to is inspiring and thought provoking. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money to have the larger boulder destroyed, the governor (Jared Polis) decided that they will widen the road and the boulder will instead be turned into a landmark – Memorial Rock.

Many problems that we have in life tend to interfere with our plans, goals and desires. We all have to find a way to deal with these rocks and make the best of them. For example, some of us may deal with mental illness. Because we cannot permanently make that go away, there are creative ways of dealing with the “lingering effects” of it. In doing this, we will be able to “live well with mental illness instead.” Whether it be anxiety, depression, or childhood trauma, we can get creative and find ways to work around those things, just like the way government officials chose to work the around the boulder.

There are some problems, and some boulders, that we aren’t able to fix or solve. But depending on how you choose to look at it defines how you will live with it.


Todd, S. (2019, June 8). A Giant Boulder in Colorado Offers a Philosophical Lesson for All of Us. Retrieved from:

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