When someone asks “how are you?”, what is your response? I suppose it depends on how the question is asked… is it the drive-by “how’s it goin” that is used more as a greeting with no expected real response, or is it a heartfelt genuine concern for your well-being? Do you have an auto-reply ready when asked?
If someone had asked me first thing this morning, I would have sighed and said “tired.” When I first got up and moving this morning, I will admit I was having a little bit of a one-person pity party. I was trying to remember the last time I wasn’t tired. I was looking in the mirror wishing I could go on a vacation that was long enough to truly become completely rested, and rid my eyes of bags. I started thinking about all of the other Real Women out there who no doubt feel the same way I do, because so many of us do the proverbial burning of life’s candles from both ends. We are busy all week with work and family and “extra-curriculars”, trying to fit everything in, staying up too late and getting up too early in the morning. Then on the weekends we don’t rest either, because we are busy running around doing what we can’t get done during the week. Plus of course I was lamenting how I don’t have the same level of energy I had 10 years ago. Oh, yes, it was a “woe is me, stop the world I want to rest” moment for sure.
Then, as so often happens, within a short frame of time, I came face-to-face with a dose of reality. I turned on the news before heading to work, and heard about a local house fire that had happened overnight, killing a 13-year old girl. When I hear things like that, I have an overwhelming urge to run and get my son and spend the day hugging him. A loss like that is not something I can get my head wrapped around. On my way to work, I got thinking about all of the folks I know who have it so much harder than I do…those that are out of work, those that are battling serious health issues, those that have recently lost a loved one… and I started to realize how I was being pretty silly this morning.
For the most part, I believe we automatically answer the “how are you” question with generic non-answers – like fine, good, not bad…. Or perhaps we get a bit sarcastic (I admit to this occasionally) and say things like just nifty, lovely, or my favorite: “upright, breathing, and able to take nourishment.” But every now and then I’ll run into someone who surprises me with a very upbeat yet honest response of “I’m fantastic, thanks!” or “couldn’t be better!” And I find it so refreshing, I actually feel better having heard a response like that from someone. Perhaps it says something about the lack of positive energy we all normally encounter in our day to day lives when we are surprised by such an encouraging answer.
So I am making a promise to myself that the next time someone asks “How are you?” instead of casting off a ho-hum “ok”, I am going to take a breath and actually give a more accurate response. Like today, instead of feeling a bit grumpy and worn out, I should realize that I am lucky to have such a busy, active, healthy, fulfilled life.
How am I? A little tired; but otherwise pretty darn great, thanks.