I try to look on the bright side, I really do, but sometimes it’s well, hard. There’s the busy-ness. And the relentlessness. The always-on-ness and the how-do-you-do-it ness.
This week somewhere between swimming lessons and GAA training but after that important conference call and around the time of that highly irritating email exchange, I let my first world problems get on top of me. A frown took up residence on my brow and I sighed at anyone who would listen. My broken car that was going to cost a fortune to fix, my constantly waking three-year-old; solo parenting; saying “shoes” a hundred times every morning; the tiredness. All the stuff that is nothing by itself but adds up and snowballs and won’t go away. A grump.
Chocolate didn’t make it go away. Fresh air didn’t make it go away. I surprisingly didn’t turn to wine or gin. (I don’t even recognise me). I joined my children in whinging, a family chorus. It was delightful.
I noticed when I spoke to friends that everyone had similar stories, and when I shared the floodgates opened “Me too”, “I thought it was just me”. Everyone was struggling, between work, parenting and family it seemed like everyone was having a crappy week. Each interaction brought more bad news, nothing serious, just a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Knowing that none of it was insurmountable but feeling powerless.
And then I read about some truly awful things. They didn’t happen to me, but they made me grateful for what I had and made my worries, which were big to me, seem so unimportant. I read about another Ciaran and Cathal and their terribly sad story, and their incredibly brave parents. (You can read their story and support them here, it’s heartbreaking). I followed the story of the missing crew of Rescue 116. I watched the reports of the attacks in London. I heard that someone I knew years ago had died in an accident.
My grumpiness was replaced by sadness, and my resolve to be more grateful strengthened. It’s like that time before that I got perspective.
Struggling is still surviving, not to belittle the struggle, but there are so many levels worse. We need to remember that.
Whinge by all means, that’s therapeutic isn’t it? But try not to lose sight of the fact that we are the lucky ones.
We live on the bright side, we have to make the most of it, for those who don’t.