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Misery Loves Company

complaining

I was at a workshop this weekend (yah, you know, the kind that privileged middle-aged-middle-class women attend to re-energize their lives). Our warm-up was to introduce ourselves one-on-one and tell the other person what our dream was.

For a split second I faltered. What was my dream? I knew what it was, but would that sound foolish???

Yah, that was my saboteur talking, so I gave her the finger and a shove, and repeated myself over and over until everyone in the room knew what my dream was, and I believed it could happen.  Worth the money and the time, thank you very much.

Although we were focussing on realigning our lives, there was a lot of misery in the room.  I supposed that’s why we all went – to banish it to the realm of 80’s hairspray and baby oil sun-tanning.

My mother, whom I relied on to teach me how not to be in the world, imparted  two solid pieces of wisdom upon me;

  1. Time goes by faster as you get older.
  2. There will always be assholes.

She was right about both of those things.

What I also learned from observing her was that misery loves company. And what I’m learning at this ripe old age of mid-forty-something is that not only does it love company, it absolutely requires it to survive.

There seems to be something entirely blasé about this time in life for most people. Whether they are in the throes of child-rearing, stale marriages, or realizing that their prowess now gives up the occasional purr rather than a ferocious growl, people in general connect via the lack in their lives rather than the abundance and joy. Cool has become the preferred carnival mask of middle age.

giphyI’m too old for cool.

I’m middle aged,(don’t argue with me about what middle-aged is, I’m a mortician, and mid-forties is way past middle aged for most of us, so get with the program), I want to be cool about nothing. I want to be passionately engaged about what gets me excited, and dismiss what drains my energy.

Misery invites company, it’s a seducer. It loves to lock it’s lips on our sexy, positive energy and suck the last breath from it.  Leaving it limp and impotent.

Misery is easy. Being miserable means you don’t have to invest or commit to anything.  And that’s so fucking easy to get away with. Misery sucks the life out of everything around it, in order to stay above water.

Joy, unlike misery is so busy smelling the flowers and investing in more joyful interactions that it generates enough energy to keep itself afloat.

If you are lonely go out join something. If you are bored at work, take a class and learn something new. If you’re fat, go for a walk. If you’re sex starved, trust me ladies, it’s out there to be had. If you don’t have enough time to do what you love, set boundaries….You get the picture.  Oh, and quit making excuses, that’s misery wrestling you to the ground, and not in the sweaty, sexy, one-garter-came-loose kind of way.

If you were to step into the room that I did on the weekend and were asked to everyone what your dream was, and you don’t know…you absolutely need to know. Misery has kept you company for far too long.

 

 

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The Hardest People to Care For

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'" ~Mary Anne Radmacher~
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow'”
~Mary Anne Radmacher~

Are you one of them? A professional caregiver; nurse, police officer, paramedic counselor, doctor, mortician, social worker., firefighter, soldier..???

If you fall anywhere in that professional-soup, you are likely one of the most difficult individuals to care for .

After a trying week and anxiety that has registered off the scale and into the stratosphere, I think I may finally be coming back to the land of the living.

I’ve had a couple of friends offer me the equivalent of a pat on the back and kick in the ass. Not really what I needed when dealing with trauma of the ugliest kind, and top of my own personal issues.

What I did not need was a ‘Lol’, or a, “Yah, but you’ve felt like that before”, or a, “You always land on your feet.”

What I needed turned out to be a  blessing that came out of the blue; another human being who knows what it’s like to see the things that I see, and yet maintain a professional demeanor and carry on with life when what you really want to do is vomit, curl up in a ball, and have someone rock you like a baby.

Caregivers and those of us who deal with human mortality on a daily basis are the hardest people to care for.  We can recognize patronizing bullshit a mile away, and smell apathy like a hound smells a panicked raccoon. We recognize personal authenticity and we know when someone could care less. We’re also too worn out to call you on your bullshit most of the time, so you’re safe.

We are the most difficult people to care for, because we know all the theory, and suck at self-care practice. We also are the most loyal friends. It was my best pal of over 25 years who listened, and said just the right things. She didn’t try to make it better or lessen the trauma. It was another pal who recognized my despair in a well-timed-once-a-year-email response who surprised me the most. Although we haven’t seen one another in over a decade, he too knows what it’s like to be woken by nightmares and have your day interrupted by unwelcome thoughts and images.

You already know to avoid your half-assed friends and lovers, but if you need reminding, just try reaching out to those folks when you really need support. They will teach you all you need to know about who is important and who is not.

If you are one of us, ‘the hardest people to care for’, I urge you to seek the support you need. It may be reaping the benefits of a decent EAP program or even as simple as a coffee with your truly good friends and the  colleagues who share the same joy and pain of working with the underbelly of what it means to be human.

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Authenticity

authenticWorking with a new database, I was prompted to input information about my ‘contact’s so that at pre-determined intervals, the ‘system’ would send out a reminder to little ole’ me to give them a call and chat them up.

Sounds like a great idea considering I’m a bit of a bubblehead, and tend to forget dates and time easily. I do however have a deep abiding intuition about people that has served me well throughout my lifetime.

That means that when I meet a person in a business or in a personal situation, I often am attracted to them or not based on how authentic in their work and being they seem to be.

When I contact them, it’s because they have entered my mind, and I hope that they’re doing well.  It’s authentic, it’s real, and I think people can sense that.

Don’t get me wrong, my radar has been off a few times, and there have been times that I’ve chosen to ignore it…for years…but for the most part, I know another genuine, gentle, on-the-path-to-enlightenment soul when I meet one.

With the loss of small towns and close-knit families, we have lost our accountability to one another. We are not ‘we’ anymore, functioning within the boundaries of our role within the community. Just as with any other circumstance, there are benefits and drawbacks.

For the most part, we are a bunch of I’s, going about our daily business, caught in our worlds managed by databases and duties tied to our own prosperity, reminded by machines to stop and call someone to inquire about how they are, and of course, what they can do for us.

Beyond techno-prompts (which, I have to admit have their place), we have the living hell of group emails and texts. For the purpose of transmitting the who, what, where, when and why of logistical information, group texts and emails are heavenly.

It’s the ‘REPLY ALL’ option that makes me want to launch my iPhone off, into a never-ending journey to the depths of Amish hell.  Inevitably someone goes off track, and begins an entire conversation that has my desk, hip or handbag vibrating like a night at the motel on the edge of town.

For the love of all that’s sacred, pull-eaze just make some time to spend with your ‘REPLY ALL’ buddy and go for a drink and an in-the-flesh-I-can-see-your-facial-expressions-and-hear-the-tone-in-your-voice conversation.

There is nothing like a face to face encounter to make your intuition hum, and awaken your human spirit. Instead we have messages emailed out that are either carefully crafted, or shot from the hip.

I suggest that our true selves have fallen victim to technology. We dust of different persona’s too often that it confuses even ourselves.

The bottom line for me is that my friendships are true. If I email you it’s not because I think it’ll pad my savings account. It may induce belly laughter, tears, or a sense of connection.

That’s not just true of my personal relationships. It’s also true of my business ethic. If I don’t believe you’re a good person, I don’t want to do business with you.

Do you know why? It’s because I know from experience that there are always good people out there, authentic people, who are as qualified as you to do the job, and will treat clients with deep respect and care.

That my dear ones, is what our work is all about. It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do, your job is important, and the rest of the world relies on you to be kind, authentic and to work with good intentions.  It’s not just work, it’s life. Life doesn’t know what 9-5 is, because it’s everywhere, all the time.

It’s not someone else’s responsibility to make the world a kinder place to live, it’s ours.