Getting Through the Storm

storm_clouds
storm clouds

I’ve been thinking lately about how chronic illness affects people and was going to do an article about it. This is not about that though.

I realized when I first started thinking about this topic that the first two things that popped into my head were how all-consuming it can be and how people deserve compassion. Then I realized that these two things are not exclusive to people with chronic illness. They are, in fact, common to everybody and something that we should think about and be aware of when dealing with our own situations and when dealing with other people in any circumstance.

Think about it: everybody that we encounter throughout our day, from the cashier at the coffee shop to the person on the other end of the phone that we speak with, all have individual lives with problems of their own that they deal with.

  • New mothers are dealing with life-changing issues while being sleep-deprived.
  • Many of us have problems at work, either person- or issue-related that may be troubling.
  • Lots of people have financial problems that they are trying to resolve.
  • There are so many people with health issues ranging from acute and immediate to chronic and debilitating.

All of these, and so many more, are problems that keep us awake at night. We all have some type of problem that we’re working on. Some are obviously more critical than others and they may come and go, but the one thing we have in common is that we all have to get through something. We all have problems that require our attention.

Additionally, people all handle problems differently. What one person considers minimal, somebody else may interpret (and react to) as a monumental problem. Stress also affects each of us differently and would affect our reactions and behavior. Our individual history may also affect our situation. Who is to say that one problem is worse than somebody else’s? There is absolutely no grading scale on problems, reactions, or situations.

There are a lot of factors that can influence how our problems affect our situation. The one thing we have in common is that we all have problems that worry us, can sometimes consume us, and that can affect how we live, how we think, and how we act. Since we know this, we should also have more in common with each other: compassion and understanding for ourselves and for each other.

For ourselves, it’s important that we cut ourselves some slack. Many times, we tend to be harder on ourselves than on other people. We expect a lot from ourselves. Allow yourself the time and patience to heal, to grieve, or to work toward resolution of the problem that you’re dealing with.

When dealing with other people, no matter who they are, be generous with your time, compassion, and patience. They, too, are going through situations and problems that we are unaware of, situations that are consuming their time, attention, and patience.

I’m not trying to be negative in saying that we all have problems, but it’s a reality in our fast-paced world that we’re all stressed and experience negative thoughts or experiences. I would like to think that, by taking the time to remember that everybody else we talk to or interact with has similar experiences, we might be a bit more kind or thoughtful to each other. If we could do this, it might just make somebody’s life a little bit easier and, after all, how much more positive could that be?

Our Friendships in Life

friends_for_life
friends for life

When you’re little, your parents are your world and they are the ones that choose the people that surround you. As you grow, it starts to be your own choice as to who you let into your life and who becomes important. Your friends gradually start becoming a bigger priority.

As you get older and your friendships take on a larger role in your life, you’re convinced that your best friends will remain your best friends forever. You depend on them to get you through the oh-so-dramatic happenings in your teenage years when your parents don’t understand you. You spend all of your waking hours together. Sometimes your best friend remains your best friend, but things can change as well. Continue reading “Our Friendships in Life”

What Makes Something Go Viral?

are_we_supposed_to_be_happy? cause_we're_not
are we supposed to be happy? ’cause we’re not.

Nowadays it seems that the goal of anything you write, take a picture of, or post is to have it go viral. What does this mean and how does it happen? Well, According to Urban Dictionary, “an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals has ‘gone viral’.”

So, what do you think? Do you think that’s the actual goal of some people or do you think that it’s the unintentional consequence of something that they did? It’s either and both! I’ve seen videos that are clearly intended to be distributed as a viral video simply to garner followers. There are several benefits to putting things out there. I think some people just want the fun or challenge of seeing if they can get something to go viral. It can also drive people to their site, inspire people to follow them, and get their name out there. These are all good reasons to share something with the intent of going viral. Continue reading “What Makes Something Go Viral?”

Who In The World Are We?

who_are_we

I don’t even know what to say today.

I’m so confused, disappointed, frightened, and angry at what we’ve allowed our reality to become. When and why did we allow this to happen to us, as a people? It seems to me that it has evolved over time to the point that we are now accepting of the fact that hate is normal and there really is no minimum expectation of behavior anymore. Anybody can say anything they want to with no repercussions. This growing tolerance of unacceptable behavior has evolved into violent action and increasing and overwhelming incidents of hate.

I feel that, during this time of political upheaval and discourse, it’s been easy to blame politics (and politicians). I am embarrassed to admit that I, too, have developed feelings of disappointment, disgust, and yes, even anger, over the past year. I don’t care which side you were on, you had a reason to feel these emotions.  We do NOT, however, have a right to act on them, other than in a positive way.  We should be taking those feelings and looking for positive ways to get involved and effect change. We, as human beings, do not have a right to violence, to hate, to intolerance. Each one of us is a human being entitled to an opinion, a behavior, and a lifestyle of our own choosing. Not one of us is a perfect human. How dare we think we are better than anybody else or that we, alone, are right about everything? Yes, we’re entitled to feelings, but we are not entitled to say or do anything that we want. I don’t care who you are. You can be the guy next door or the president of the United States. We seem to have lost respect for basic human interaction. We need to hold each other accountable again. Continue reading “Who In The World Are We?”

As a Grandparent, You Should Know…

So now that I’ve been a grandparent for a little while, there are a few things that I’ve learned and a lot more things that I need to learn.

First of all, I still think the most important thing that I can do as a grandparent is to just BE THERE.  I want my kids, when they are parents, to know that I’m always going to be here to support them, in whatever capacity they need.  I will babysit, I will provide words of advice (when asked for it and once in a while when I’m not asked), and I will provide a sympathetic ear.  However, I will also develop my own relationship with my grandbaby outside of that he has with his parents, family, friends, etc.

As a baby, there’s not too much that you can do other than hold and cuddle him, make sure that he’s safe, and love him.  I figured that’s easy enough; I can do that.  As the days (and nights) have gone by, I have been forced to realize just how much older I am than I was since I last had a baby.  Things have changed and there are things that I need to brush up on.  I mean, I knew things would be different, of course, but didn’t realize quite how much things have changed.  I asked about the big things, but figured I could certainly get by without too much new information.  I actually found myself being as nervous watching my grandson initially as I was as a mother and wished I had brushed up a little earlier just to be more comfortable.

On the issue of safety we, as grandparents, need to know how many things have changed, some significantly, since we were parents ourselves.  It’s up to us to make sure that we are aware of all the current safety standards and recommendations when it comes to our grandchildren.  That means that I have to read, take a class, and/or ask questions to ensure my grandson’s safety.  Do we know the right way to perform CPR now?  Do we know the correct practice of feeding/sleeping nowadays?  It’s up to us to make sure we do.  Of course the parents, themselves, should provide us with the information that is critical, but they also assume we know this stuff and I’m sure they don’t always feel comfortable telling us what to do.  The point is that it’s our own responsibility to make sure we’re keeping our grandchildren safe.  I bought a book on children’s development and look forward monthly to the growth that I can expect to see as well as issues that may come up.  I recently came across a website devoted to children’s issues hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.healthychildren.org) and am using this as a resource as well.  Not only is there a lot of information presented on children’s growth, safety, and family issues, but it also includes helpful apps, newsletters, symptom checker, and e-magazines.  You can check on your grandchild’s growth or address any concerns that you may have from newborn all the way through to them becoming a young adult.  I’m looking forward to using this resource and others to stay up-to-date on what to expect and to get news on anything that changes.

The being there and loving part of having a grandchild is the easiest part of all!  The best thing in the world is when my grandson’s face lights up when he sees me!  My heart just melts and everything else in the world just fades away.  When I sing to him and he stares into my eyes with a look of wonder on his face, all the worries in the world couldn’t pull my attention away.  I like to feel like we already have our very own special bond and I’m so excited about the upcoming years when we can hang out together and do our own thing.  I will, because it’s my thing, bake cookies with him and let him sit on the counter and make a mess.  We will go out in the yard and find bugs and learn to be kind to them.  I will read him stories and give him ice cream.  We will have our own special relationship, one that is separate from anything else and I just couldn’t be happier!

 

Have Some Fun!

have_some_fun
have some fun!

Right now…this very minute…think of one thing that you want to do.

I mean WANT to do, not just should do or have to do.

Commit to doing whatever it is that comes to your mind by the end of this coming weekend.  No matter what else happens this week, make it happen!  Just this once.