Life Advice



Ask Amy: Pandemic experience calls for resilience

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I think this is a tall order, but I am asking for your thoughts about how to process the experience of the last couple of years.

I am overwhelmed by all of the sadness, division, dislocation, and loss, and I wonder if the pandemic has scarred me permanently.

I’m curious about your perspective on this.

– Distressed

Dear Distressed: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to try and tackle your very big question.

In response, I’m offering up two of my favorite modern philosophers: Viktor Frankl and Dolly Parton.


Frankl, a psychiatrist, was imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, where all of his captive family members (and over 1 million others) were murdered. He survived.

His important book about this experience, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” (current edition: 2006, Beacon Press) offers indelible lessons about resilience.

Boiled down, Frankl’s belief is that human beings can find meaning and the motivation to persevere through suffering by unlocking their sense of purpose, and by developing a rich inner life.

On to Dolly, who said, “Storms make trees take deeper roots.”


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