We passed a local middle school the other day on our way to Costco when I noticed its sign. This school has one of those fancy LED signs in the front that flips though several announcements. One of the things is a word of the day from one of the teachers.
The school sits next to an intersection that we usually get stopped at so I have plenty of time to read the sign. I learn new words all the time, but the one from the other day struck me.
It was ductile. R.J. immediately thought of docile, which I of course said, ‘No, you’re crazy.’ Turns out it is a different form of the same word. I’m pretty sure I will never hear the end of it when he reads this…
So what does ductile mean?
Ductile is an adjective and it means something is able to be changed without losing toughness; pliable, not brittle.
This word makes me think of trees. If you ever want to know what it means to be ductile look at a tree in a wind storm. Or, hell, on any given day. It’s mesmerizing.
Here are things that are 20, 30, 40 feet high that are being bent almost in half by this invisible force, but as soon as the storm is over, if they are healthy, they go right back to the way they were. Just as strong. Just as straight. Just as alive.
So why is it when shit is thrown our way our first tendency is to buckle? To rant and rave? To blame everyone and everything around us? Like we’re the only ones who have ever had to deal with difficulties or stress? Like we’re the only ones who’ve ever had to change?
You know, the opposite of ductile.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be thought of as ductile. I want to be tough no matter what is thrown my way. I don’t want to be brittle. I don’t want people to feel as if they have to handle me with kid gloves just to keep me okay.
To me ductile is synonymous with emotional stability. Hell, stability of any kind.
And doesn’t that sound awesome? To be so emotionally stable that it doesn’t matter what happens we stay calm, cool, and collected? To be so emotionally stable there is no need for self-medicating? To be so rooted in our foundation that it doesn’t matter how hard the wind blows we snap right back, just as strong, just as straight, just as alive?
Yep, that sounds like an awesome life goal.