Today was one of those days where I needed inspiration for resilience through tough times. Surprisingly, the animal I thought of wasn’t a tough big mammal like a bear or a rhino, or even a big fish like a great white shark, but actually my mind wandered to the humble caterpillar. A caterpillar may seem like a strange icon for resilience, as it’s later life after metamorphosis is more often celebrated then its pre-pupaic stage. However, I believe some species of caterpillar are some of the most resilient creatures in the whole entire world, let me explain to you why.
There is one David Attenborough sequence I will never ever forget of the woolly bear caterpillar trying so hard to turn into a woolly bear moth. I always sit in awe of this caterpillar as every single year, winter comes before the moth has a chance to eat enough food to be able to start its moth transformation. Again and again, every single year, the caterpillar freezes itself to death in the winter and miraculously comes back to life in the spring to eat as much as it can over summer to hopefully start its moth transformation again before the next winter arrives. The sequence showed the woolly bear moth starting again at least three springs in a row before it had successfully managed to consume enough energy to undergo its metamorphosis process into mothhood.
I thought of that caterpillar today and how it took him three years to be the moth he knew he could be. I thought of the disappointment of having to go through yet another winter after winter and being temporarily frozen to death three separate times. But then I thought of how eventually, the caterpillar did eat enough, it did go through metamorphosis and it did start its new life as a woolly bear moth, and began the new struggles of his new life, whatever they may be. Because of this tiring process, woolly caterpillars live to be the oldest caterpillars in the world, more wise and superior to those who never faced these hardships
Just because you are struggling, and you feel like you are failing year after year, doesn’t mean that you aren’t on the right track. Just remember that these hurdles are just passing winters and one day a spring will come that will change your life forever. You can never get to the spring though, without going through all of the winters first, almost killing yourself at least three times. I hope that in times of trial and tribulation, you can also remember the story of the woolly caterpillar and find the resistance within to become the woolly moth you always dreamed you could be.