We all go through challenging phases in life. When bad, sad, or just plain ugly things seem to pile up around us. I know several folks right now who are trying to make their way through some of those piles. A variety of serious issues arise like the death of loved ones, illnesses, accidents, health concerns, you name it – we’ve all experienced them at some point. Add to that the usual daily strains, like job stress, financial issues, diets, child care, family maintenance, caring for elderly parents, home repairs…the list goes on. Then, because we Real Women never do anything just half way, we pile on global concerns and worries. Every time we connect to our news feeds, we hear about natural disasters, horrible transportation accidents, poverty, and the terrifying threat of Isis. It all starts to feel like it will never end….Soon we feel like our pal Atlas, who was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders; or perhaps we are more like Sisyphus, rolling that blasted heavy bolder up a mountain only to watch it roll back down on us.
We’ve all used some popular phrases when we get into these modes. “Bad things come in 3’s”, “when it rains it pours”, and “if we had no bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.” We start to believe in these loosely prophetic words, and lose our energy. Pretty soon we are contemplating two options: burrow down under a blanket to ignore the world and go into hibernation, or run away. Realistically of course, neither of these are really an option. So we must trudge on.
I’ve always been a positive, cheerful person. When I was in college, a friend’s mother referred to me as a Pollyanna. I laughed it off, but in all honesty, I was offended and crushed. The last thing I wanted was to come across as being fake or obnoxious. I started to doubt myself – was I not being genuine enough? Was I annoying? Should I tone it down? Then, as I made my way through adulthood, I started to understand life a bit more clearly. Sometimes, it just isn’t easy. Sometimes it is ok to be angry, or sad. It is ok to vent, or cry, or even hide under a blanket and wallow in self-pity. We need to be sensitive to the fact that someone else in our lives, at any moment, could be going through a challenging phase. They could be feeling like the world is on their shoulders, weighing them down; and we need to be sympathetic and supportive.
Long ago I decided that life is too short to spend our time on this earth being miserable. It seems far more pleasant to me to look for the good, to smile more and frown less, to be thankful for all we have. Yet, even me, that humble Pollyanna of the past, has had moments of challenge like everyone else. Those moments where we feel overwhelmed with the bad, and want to yell “enough already!”. Moments where life just isn’t easy.
Still, I believe that if we force ourselves to get up every day and keep plugging along, something is going to break through the crud. A friend will share some good news about her health recovery; a spring day will force us to notice a flower or tree so beautiful it takes our breath away; we will lose five pounds; we will stumble across a favorite movie on tv; someone will make us laugh so hard we snort and pee. Something will give us that light, and that bounce we need. For that minute, we get a break from the yuck. For that instant, we can breathe. We get a brief adjustment in our perspective. And most importantly of all, for that one moment in time, we remember that sometimes, life is easy.
So to all my fellow R.W.’s out there who may be struggling with various challenges, it’s ok to stop and put that world down off your shoulders. Stop pushing that boulder and just lean against it and rest. Find that one little thing in your day that for an instant can make everything else disappear.
Nope, sometimes it’s not easy. But who ever met a Real Woman who wasn’t up for a challenge?