As I write this (it's four minutes shy of midnight), I'm feeling a little overburdened. I'm tired, I'm grumpy, and I'm a mite hormonal. I'm trying to put a dent into what feels like a spontaneously regenerating mountain of laundry. The house isn't clean, I have to travel for work later this week (and I'm worried about leaving the kids for so long), and tomorrow I've got a really early morning. I feel put upon by every last thing.
And really, it's all nothing. Chaff in the wind.
There's a lot of bad things in this world: natural disasters, illnesses, accidents, crimes, oppressive regimes, invasive species, pollution, etc, etc. There's a lot of stuff we can't really help or always do much about, but that have horrible, terrible effects on people's lives. It's the stuff that's in the news; on TV; filling heavy, hardback non-fiction texts.
And then there's the other bad stuff: the negativity. The toxic ooze that can coat our hearts and minds and insinuate itself into our voices and facial expressions. The small, petty meannesses that chew up joy and spoil baskets of life's strawberries with their rapidly multiplying spores. This is the stuff we can help - the stuff that we have power over, but to which we often submit without thought or hesitation. Believe you me, I am guilty. I don't know about you, but I find it welling up in me more than I like. Sometimes, even when I've had a perfectly good day, the least thing - the proverbial straw on the overburdened dromedary's back - can cause my temper to flare and make me feel like my life is so much dross. My muscles tense, my tone goes flat, my words are clipped, my face is stone. And in my head, the vitriol hisses and spits.
If I'm lucky, it stays there until I can regain some perspective (thank God for "delete" keys). Because the fact is, there's enough bad stuff out there without me adding crap to it. And I'm serious - if I had real problems, like the ones I mentioned a couple paragraphs up, that'd be one thing. But right now, I don't. And really, in the end, I just need to remember how glad I am to be here.
A month ago, I attended a function hosted by the husband's company. We had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by a former member of the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. He piloted one of the F/A-18s that performed in Russia, as part of the first foreign flight demonstration to ever fly there. He had a lot of great stories about his experiences, but the message he drove home was one of being grateful, and of having a willingness to continually work to improve oneself. The mantra by which the Blue Angels team (who are truly incredible) live, work, and fly is, "Glad to be here." It's a constant reminder to themselves and each other that they are privileged to hold such positions of honor, and that no matter how difficult the work and how demanding the circumstances, they are all really and truly glad to be there.
Yes, maybe it sounds as cheesy and corn-ball as all get-out, but that doesn't make it any less true for them. And once I can push past the static in my own head, I know that it doesn't make it any less true for me either.
Necklace: Ladybug Necklace, Miss November Studio
The husband and I have taken to wryly exchanging this phrase with each other, in our lesser moments. You know - the ones where the kids are whining/crying/having-a-full-blown-meltdown or when we've finally completed some insanely time-consuming/mentally-taxing task or project at work only to realize that we've allowed the house to become a shambles and now we have to deal with it, or when we've just experienced a series of shambolic missteps in the midst of some process that can only otherwise result in tears or anger. And while it doesn't always make it easier to face down the situation at hand, it certainly takes the sting out of it. It gives us back our power and reminds us that we have choices.
So, here, in this moment of fatigue and stress over my mountains that have, in the writing of this, shrunk back down to the molehills they actually are, I say to you, I am really and truly glad to be here.
And I thank you (for whom I felt compelled to write and by which act of writing allowed me to shake off my funk) for helping me to remember that. ^_^