Just because I’m not freaking out, doesn’t mean I’m not freaked out. Or, conversationally, just because I’m freaked out, doesn’t mean I am freaked out. Wait..
Let me explain with a little story. Today I found myself unexpectedly spending the day with one of our company’s US associates. My laptop crashed and was being repaired so I was nominated to take her sight seeing, not that I really mind that, it was great fun visiting my elephant friends again.
Anyway we spent the whole day together and really did a lot of chatting and getting to know each other. Towards the end of the day while we were driving back to Knysna she looked at me and said, “But you don’t looked stressed at all”.
She couldn’t understand how I was calmly answering her questions about my life, describing the realities of being a single mom who works two jobs, studies, exercises and all the rest, without showing signs of extreme stress and fatigue. Why am I not a nervous wreck? How can I be so calm?
So I told her. I do worry. I do stress. I just don’t believe in complaining. It gets you nowhere. I do freak out, but freaking out only serves to get you all upset and doesn’t actually better your situation. So when your laptop crashes and you spend a day gallivanting you don’t freak out about all the work you have to catch up after hours. You just enjoy the trip.
When you find you are the only parent who was sucker enough to volunteer your services backstage at the school play, you don’t feel sorry for yourself. You don’t loose your cool with the rowdy thirteen year olds (all 200 of them). No. You play hang man. You help with their make-up and you appreciate that you are the only parent with an inside scoop on what your children are actually experiencing .
So maybe I can’t buy them new school shoes right now and maybe I get that you can’t possibly understand what that’s like, it doesn’t mean I am going to sit on the pavement and cry (although lord knows sometimes I’m close).
No ways. Instead I am grateful to have two healthy kids who have feet that need shoeing. I am grateful that bringing them up without privellage has made them stronger, more emotionally intelligent people. People with substance, humor, and colourful intellect. People with compassion.
We have all learned to use humor to survive the hard times and make the most of the good. We take nothing for granted, especially not each other, because sometimes that’s all we have.
I think a lot of wealthy, privileged people would benefit hugely from a bit of healthy perspective. What is the meaning of life? I don’t know. Why are we here, why is life so hard, why bother at all when we are doomed to die anyway? I hope someday I will find out. But right now I can tell you this:
You are not here to suffer.
You are not here to spend your time freaking out.
Sure things get tough, they get hectic. Really REALLY hectic. The kind of hectic that only the poverty stricken can appreciate. But you know what? You can’t let it ruin your life.
So we live by faith and hope and happy thoughts (and a lot of hard work), and somehow through NOT freaking out, even when we are freaking out, everything is okay. Yours will be okay too.
Now take a deep breath and go and have a happy day – because life is beautiful.