Staying Sane: Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected


My life as a working mom is hectic, presents itself with various logistical challenges, causes great tension, confusion, and anxiety in my day to day life. I am absolutely amazed at how quickly and easily I can get completely immersed in my own world, with blinders on separating me from everything else going on around me.   Sometimes it takes days or weeks for me to call back a family member or friend.   Looking at things globally, of course I know we are at war but it is difficult for me to talk intelligently about the specific combat tensions that are currently going on or even worse, the number of lives that have been lost.   I am also like this with politics. I know that the Speaker of the House cries a lot, but I’m not really sure why exactly he is crying or if he is particularly effective at what he does.

I am also acutely aware that when I DO succesfully peel the blinders back, there is of course an impact but honestly it fades over time. Situations can be etched in my memory, but my day to day continues.   On a light note, I’ve certainly experienced this resulting from travels to far away places – for example, I was able to see, smell, and witness different ways of living in Cambodia, Laos, India, Africa…. children in streets, villages and huts, harvesting rice fields…. but then these memories fade several weeks if not days after my return back to Western civilization.  The impact of 9/11 has forever shaped my outlook on life but I no longer dwell on it day to day.  The deaths of my friends that I have already experienced, particularly young people who have died ENTIRELY too young, do haunt me from time to time but the pain and intensity of emotion have subsided — now I think back on them happily instead of with a heavy heart or demanding an answer the question “Why?!!?!?!?!?“.

 

World Trade Center, post 9/11

World Trade Center, post 9/11

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

I would like to change this. I believe that if I peek outside of my “normal”, and make a conscious effort to build this into my thinking, I will be able to better appreciate what I DO have despite my perceived craziness of my life.  The incident in Oslo, Norway is one example. The devestation, starvation, death and flight in Somalia is too intense for me to really wrap my head around. I just can’t believe that so many people can be living and dying in such conditions yet so many people in the world do not even know the true extent of the tragedy (including myself until a few days ago). This overall lack of awareness is sad – but I am part of it too.   Is it that people just cannot mentally process too much pain? Disbelief? Is it easier just to turn away?

I am happy to report that consciously peeling back my own blinders and opening up my own awareness has really helped me to recognize the good in my life. I’m able to better appreciate what I have in my life even though it is so crazy and crushing at times. I have four wonderful, beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband who loves me. I have a job where people look to me for my opinion. I have a house that keeps my children safe and warm. I have two refrigerators. I have lots of shoes in my closet. I think I look good for my age. I am finally beyond the baby stage. My kids make me laugh. I’m wearing something comfortable right now. There is cold beer waiting for me at home right now.

I’ve also decided to try to make a difference where I think I can.

For one, I am going to work at making more of a difference to those around me…. to be a better friend and family member, to connect and reach out when I see people in need. I’ve learned that everyone has their own “worlds and issues” and I may have a small way making a difference. Like how friends of mine reached out to me when I started having a difficult time several months ago (THANK YOU by the way!!!).  It makes me feel better when I let go of my blinders and connect with others on a deeper, personal level. The other day an acquaitence from the ferry reached out to me and I could see so clearly the pain in her own face… the rat race and juggling with kids – “You are not alone” is all I had to say to her, along with a hug, and we were both feeling better.

Second, I am going to try to stay abreast of world events even though most of what you hear these days is terribly disturbing. I’ve been absolutely haunted about Somalia. It did not take much… one photograph. I then I researched more, and saw more, and then got more and more upset about what was happening and why I have not opened myself up to become aware of how bad the situation is. No food, no water, people fleeing their homes. And suffering. There are many reputable organizations focusing on these issues and I want to do my part. If you would like to join me in this effort, please consider donating to Unicef or Doctors without Borders.

These are just some thoughts for now. I’ll let you know the progress. But also keep me honest!!!!!! I’d appreciate feedback and also reminders from time to time. And if you get a random email or phone call from me just to see how you’re doing, then you know that I’m trying to stay connected, keeping perspective, and am working to do it!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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