Ah yes, a meme about how we need to stop being so miserable and whiny and how we need to move forward with raging thoughts of nothing but positive ideas and shoving everything negative to the back recesses of our mind. OK. Are they accurate? Yeah, sure, quite so, sort of. All one needs to do is open up the news or turn on the TV to be blinded with all things negative. The planet is falling apart, no one can agree on anything in the world of politics; war, famine, crime, disasters, plague…you name it. However, these things have been going far longer than this morning’s headlines. It’s very true that you can be sucked into the vortex of misery if you allow yourself to focus on what they are feeding you. (Now I know why they call it a “news feed”.)
I live in an area that is rampant with growing crime issues, severely overcrowded schools, extreme building that is leading to traffic overload etc. Sure, I would like to be able to print out a for sale sign, walk out front and put it on the lawn and move to some far away rural landscape where I sit on the porch sipping wine and watching sunsets (OK this is starting to sound a little too inviting lol), but then reality kicks in. I worked for thirty years and raised three children and am still in the midst of it all. I would like to believe that one day I will have my time. Some say I have that now, because I’m at home writing, but I’m still very much in the parenting and homemaker stage and I don’t see that ending anytime too soon…and I am not ungrateful. Although the inner curmudgeon inside me wants to yell, “Back in my day, these kids would have their hides tanned for pulling some of the stunts they do now!” and “Parents need to parent their kids!”
It would be easy to whine about my life, the “suffering” I endured and the hardships. “When I was growing up, we had a cord on our phone and we couldn’t walk away!!” We all have them though. What makes my issues any more dramatic or heart wrenching? How many countless others have endured far worse, lost so much more? When I contemplate being a positive person rather than seeing so many negative things, it’s a conscious effort that is difficult to maintain, honestly. Having an anxiety disorder and coming out on the other side of pain, grief, abuse and loss, I could spend the rest of my life being bitter and angry or I could do something about it, which I’d like to think I do here to an extent.
Innumerable others have so much less than I do. I sit in a comfortable home that I took out a mortgage on after my parents passed away here. I have a computer, TVs, a modest kitchen, a comfortable bed, clean water, enough food (looking in the mirror I confirm perhaps too much), internet, healthy children, and a host of other amenities. I realize that I have much more than many people in the world. I try to educate myself on the plight of others on this planet and it is difficult to watch a show about, for example, a child who walks 15 miles a day to get water for their family or a child who dies trying to get to a better place with her family due to famine, war, crime, drought etc. In comparison, I live the life of royalty.
One cannot allow the misfortune of another to diminish your struggle. While I know how lucky I am to enjoy the comforts I do, it is OKAY to feel stress, experience anxiety, to be sad or angry. Perspective is the key I suppose. I still don’t want to be the “back in my day” or “before kids were spoiled like this” type of person although I catch myself doing it. My children live in a world that is so full of tech and they are spoiled. They take for granted walking into their room and telling their connected device to turn the lights on (which I just set up for myself and it’s very dramatic, but nice when you’re carrying a laundry basket lol). I can’t explain to them that they are living in the age of “The Jetsons”. Well, without the flying cars…yet.
As a very regular consumer (double entendre intended!) of documentaries, I see so many programs that talk about inequity in life and other struggles in the world. It’s easy to slip into being cranky about things that would never even concern someone, say in the developing world or living with very limited means. Yesterday, for a brief moment, I allowed myself to get frustrated because my wi-fi plug disconnected and I couldn’t verbally turn the light on in my room and had to open the blind. I mean seriously, it was ridiculous when I thought about it. I truly believe I would exist for the first 8 minutes of a zombie apocalypse. This would mainly be from my taking photos and posting them to Facebook or Twitter #endoftheworld #zombies #theywereright LOL.
I do however try to think back to the conversations I had with my grandmother who hung her laundry out to dry between the buildings on a pulley-rope system after hand washing it all and before drawing the rope in, collecting it and ironing. I use my dryer as an iron and actually gave away my iron and ironing board because I just don’t use it. I do find myself saying such lovely quips such as, “Kids today don’t know how good they have it!” or “When I was your age, I had to walk uphill, both ways, to school!” (I actually did, but that’s an amusing story for another time.)