Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
Who are you when you’re all alone? We develop much of our sense of self from the reactions we receive from others—especially significant others. So, negative comments from those early years can haunt us while support buoys us with confidence. We do our best to prepare ourselves for the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” But we didn’t expect fortune to be quite as outrageous as 2020 has been. Suddenly we’re forced to spend inordinate amounts of time by ourselves.
The erratic, seemingly nonsensical reactions of many of our friends, family, and colleagues this past year might be partially due to the strain of spending so much time hearing inner thoughts they didn’t mean to have. When wearing a mask to keep your germs to yourself feels like an act of oppression, you know you’ve suppressed your need to rebel against Mom and Dad too long. Remember how two-year-olds are infamous for their outbursts of “NO!”? Come to think of it, I once saw a program in which psychologists explained that if temperamental two-year-olds had the strength of adults, they would accidentally commit homicides. No wonder the hostile folk of late refuse to consider unbiased research. Who wants to wreck a good rage? Childish defiance has been in vogue. Think about it. What did your mother tell you? “Talk nice about other people. Play fair. Tell the truth. Cover your mouth.” And who is an authoritarian leader but a substitute dad who breaks the rules?
Other people, however, have discovered their sturdy mettle in these difficult days. To cope, they pulled out a dusty sense of humor and creativity that was stuffed in the back of some closet. They found ways to contact and support loved ones and even strangers. Some renewed their sense of “love one another” spirituality as they define it. You can watch what so-called celebrities do in these times, and suddenly you know who they are beneath the glamor. Some show they are truly good people whose circle of care extends beyond their daily life. In fact, lots of people are behaving like unvarnished heroes these days.
When I looked at myself, I was depressed by my gradually increasing sloth, so I’m trying to transform it to industry. Age is no excuse for quitting. Like plants, we’re either growing or withering, so I went back to school for the entire summer—virtually. Now I’m a professional hypnotherapist and I can work to help people access their inner strength and wisdom—online until I’m able to share space. I feel a need to make a difference even as I’m isolated as at-risk. There’s a selfish component, too. If I stagnate too long, my writing suffers when my enthusiasm for life dwindles.
My husband is recovering from injuries he sustained in a recent fall. His love, stoicism, and good humor impress me so much that I fall in love with him all over again. He, our dogs, and the scenic property around our house remind me of how exquisitely fortunate I am. I stop fretting over the improvements that aren’t going to happen. Although our holidays won’t bear much resemblance to those in our past without any family or friends at the table, at least we’ll have fragments of the holidays. We’ll chat with people we love by cell and share token gifts that will arrive at unpredictable times. We’re reminded of the Whos from Who-Ville whose Christmas came just the same. This Thanksgiving we’re grateful that we’re here to be grateful.