It was bound to happen, summer recently waved goodbye to us all while stepping aside for the next seasonal placeholder to fill its void. Here I perch on a Saturday morning with the gas fireplace on, a warm mug next to me, and a completely overflowing mind. What a way to start this autumnal season-completely stressed out. I was juggling many balls, trying fervently to keep them all in the air. As a result, it felt as though I was walking forever on my way to nowhere, without any break in time allowing for rest.
Today’s expressions for this writer are no more unique to anyone else’s. There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t felt this way at some point or another. Typically, I do a decent job with overwhelm citing my ability to keep the proper perspective most of the time. But I have to tell you, the last ten days for this middle-aged guy have truly tested me. I guess what has been going on is akin to the frustration felt as you spend hours and hours lining up dominos to form a really intricate pattern. Only to have the cat continually run by and knock the table leg, thus destroying the creation over and over again, before it is ever fully completed.
In an effort to control some of the emotions and tensions within, two trips to the White Mountains of Northern NH were exactly what the doctor ordered. If only for a short time, I was breathing fresh air again, instead of the constant black smoke of disintegrating calm. A short-lived respite from madness, only to find myself staying awake most of the night on those evenings anyway. Back again was a hint of black smoke in the corner of my throat. Whoever claimed taking long breaths when emotionally stressed out will help calm you down – never ingested soot for days the way I have been doing. Deep breaths, my foot.
There are moments in life when each of us loses our way in some form or another, it shall continue on like this. Ten days of chaos and turmoil certainly saw to it mine was nowhere to be found. Chance encounters with me recently, were brief, and not in any way pleasant. But being an ass is short-lived. Typically, all it takes to come back to true form are a few reminders from the mouths of friends via a series of not so pleasant words that I am being one. Stress is a short-term distraction from happiness. You mustn’t allow it to linger. It will always remain within us and act as our own counterbalance to complacency, regardless.
Unfortunately, when at our breaking point we close our eyes to the good fortune all around us, almost instantly. And then open them up quickly, only to stare widely at recent overwhelm in disbelief. Truthfully, this is life. It has its ups and downs, twists and turns, accomplishments and defeats. Still, there are positive bountiful cycles of opportunity presented to us individually during these more challenging moments along the way. A never-ending array of images, thoughts, and kind gestures are yours to consume. While other times these same gifts seem to hide instantly upon a phone call receipt, sudden traumatic news, a text message, or a rush of events.
At various moments on our journey though, we tend to forget how much we take for granted while moving along so rapidly from one task to the next. When you consider it, most of us are fortunate even to have such daily frustrations in the first place. All of which may be so easily corrected by contemplation, a brief recharge to ocean sand, or visit to a majestic range. For many, the world is a much more unforgiving experience altogether, and I know my silly life trials do pale in the bigger scheme of life’s entirety too.
As all things go, there is a hidden lesson beneath this onion surface. One simply needs to keep on peeling to find it. Could it be stress and overwhelm are telling us to slow down a bit and not to lose sight of our own good fortune in the midst of minor crisis management. On stage, I refer much to the concept of perspective. We lose it often. But as quickly as it seems to fleet, it returns. For me, all it took this time, was administering dinner through a feeding tube to my son. And then everything else instantly seemed so trivial. Often times, I end up shaking my head in disbelief towards my own overreaction when I get out of sorts with overwhelm. My 14-year-old has always been my own personal grounding rod. Each of you has one too.
Had it not been for a series of various twists of fate, things lately might have been relatively smooth heading into the fall season. I’ve been reminded firsthand once again; amidst the chaos, it does not mean there still isn’t much to be thankful for. This weekend my two boys were a gentle nudge from reality for me to keep things in check.
Nothing else matters here for the next blissful 48 hours. When Sunday yields, I am convinced the previous ten days of angst for me will once again only be a memory, worth nothing more than a headshake. On to bigger and brighter days ahead.
Instead of lining up Dominos next week, I’m thinking Solitaire might do the trick. Less risky.