I feel like my mind has been pulled in all sorts of directions lately.
Feeling like a huge failure of a mother because my child’s weight gain is still poor (poor enough, in fact, to have officially earned him the label “failure to thrive” at his September GI appointment, which will forever be etched into his medical record despite his abundant energy, contagious laughter, and markedly normal development in every other aspect of his life).
Feeling like I never have time for myself (or for my spouse), yet carrying a weighty guilt every time I do devote just a fraction of the day (or week) to self-care. (Which, by the way, isn’t selfish—thanks for the reminder.)
Feeling overwhelmed with a lack of patience, irritability that won’t go away, and frustration at the fact that my husband and I are both intelligent, hard-working people, whose incomes don’t seem to reflect all of that.
Uncertainty about what role I will have in my company now that the program I’ve worked on for 8 years is ending (I will have a job, so that’s the important thing!). And a wish that I could have a do-over of my college years so I could take advantage of career resources and make something of my passions.
We all have our stuff, right?
It never fails, though, that whenever I feel like I’m being suffocated by a blanket of “why me?” that I’m knocked right into the wall—and down a flight of stairs—by one thing: perspective.
I live a ridiculously charmed life. I’m blessed and privileged and have experienced so little suffering and loss that it’s almost silly.
Last week I finished reading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (yes, I’m a few years late to the game). How incredible to have had your dignity (the thing that makes us truly human) all but stripped away from your (almost literal) bare bones and spend the rest of your life giving to others and forgiving your abusers!
And let’s not forget that last month, a college friend (not a close friend, but someone whom I respect and care for) lost her baby boy—just days shy of his 2nd birthday.
Or just last week, a high school acquaintance, whose 3-year-old lost a battle with hepatoblastoma.
And then there are stories in the media—generations of people who lose their lives to despair and addiction.
And continual heart-breaking stories of refugees fleeing their homes because possible death by sea is a better, safer option than staying.
The world can be really f***ing cruel.
All of our feelings of sadness, regret, pity, and anger are valid—but we cannot let those feeling define our existence.
It’s ok to have a bad day—to want nothing more than to pull the covers over our heads and sleep until the afternoon.
It’s ok to cry. To yell. To punch (bags—I wouldn’t recommend punching loved ones or pets or even walls).
There will always be pain—and feeling it makes us stronger—but we have to find a silver lining (whether doing so requires a few good laughs, a day of pampering, months of therapy, or medication).
We have to find empathy and realize that we’re in this together. There is always something beautiful in life—even on the bleakest, darkest days.
There is always, always good to be found. And we should share it with one another freely.
I’m not sure how to conclude this, except to say that I will acknowledge my feelings, I will offer empathy and support to those whom I encounter in my day-to-day life, I will laugh at myself when I overreact or do/say something silly or foolish, I will be more mindful of how my actions/words affect others, and I will cherish the light and happy moments that are surely present in each day, even the bad ones.
And I will wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.
[linking up for thinking out loud]