I am having trouble writing today. After almost a full two weeks off, it is back to the grind. In the first full week of the year, I traveled to Florida, visiting both Orlando and the eastern coastline, as well as driving down to Virginia for some sorority leadership training. My year has been busy but good! Even got asked to teach again this spring, making me very happy.
I can’t complain. At 50 I have done a lot with my life. My career is on track, a little late in blossoming compared to some of my previous cohorts, but I am at a level where I know how to succeed and I am beginning my slow transition out of corporate life into higher education. On the personal side, I am actively involved in my sorority, have just enough friends to feel fulfilled, my kids are doing well from my perspective, and I get to travel with the perfect travel partner often, having gone to Michigan and Maine last year and planning trips to Guatamala and Disney World this year. I have worked hard to get where I am. Put in my time. Managed through a hurtful divorce. Muddled through being a single parent. Went broke with the money pit but now enjoy the home we created. Life has thrown me many a curve ball, yet somehow I kept on swinging and now am running the bases.
Why have I been able pick myself and others struggle with far smaller problems? Or do their problems just seem smaller to me? What makes me such a fighter and others seem to settle or rely on drugs or alcohol to escape their issues? Is it inherent or is this a learned trait? And if learned, where did I learn it and how can I teach it?
Someone very close to me is struggling right now. I want to help, to support them. I want to make them well, but I don’t know how. I keep wondering what causes an individual to be depressed to the point of wasting days. Of having dreams and goals, but being unable to do anything to move toward them. To be so afraid I guess of life, that they use weed and alcohol to escape. Is what they are going through any worse than the pain of betrayal and divorce? Is moving toward their ambitions any harder than parenting 2 kids alone?
At 50 I realize there are those like me and there are those who are not like me. Compassion and understanding, without judgement is not easy, but it is what we must do when helping others. Type A personalities, like me, may find it difficult to relate and understand. But we, or for now, I, must learn to empathize even when it seems foreign to us. I must learn not to judge. To accept that each individual is doing the best they can, at this moment in time.
So it is what I am doing these days. Taking deep breaths. Maintaining a calming presence. And being supportive. It isn’t easy for me. I see myself daily wanting to be Cher in Moonstruck saying “Snap out of it!” But saying it doesn’t make it so. Instead I will ask provoking questions. Allow them to process their thoughts. Create a supportive environment. By doing this we allow them to let go of whatever is stopping them. But by doing this we too must let go of what we think they should or should not be doing. So on this cold “Frozen” day, we both sang “Let it go!”