When people ask us how we’re doing the words “busy” and “stressed” tend to surface. Come to think of it, those answers have been on repeat a lot lately. Lately. As in the past four years. As I find myself uttering the same response over and over I have started wondering, Do we really live this way? Has our life really boiled down to busyness, stress, to-do lists, and running from one event to the next? Another thought terrified me. If this is our life now, what will it be like when we have kids? I couldn’t even go there for fear panic would set in. Based on our current lifestyle, I couldn’t even imagine our lives picking up more speed!
But let’s be honest. “Busy and stressed” is just the polite, socially acceptable answer. In reality, what I really mean is “We’re absolutely exhausted running around like crazy people just trying to hold on to our sanity allthewhile wondering how we can get off this roller coaster!” At least, that’s how it feels. But that response might result in a few blank stares, awkward silences, and uncomfortable shuffling of feet.
I remember my parents recounting this exact feeling. Mom and Dad would crash into bed at the end of each day, utterly fatigued, asking each other, “how do we get off this roller coaster of life?” They felt whipped around at every turn and like they were being dragged along at warp speed.
Though few may admit it, I suspect I am not alone. An article from ABC news stated that middle class Americans are overstressed and overworked, calling it the “sweat under the white collar”. Both men and women now share the roles of breadwinner and homemaker, while more and more children are placed in daycare. Long hours, hectic schedules, events, social outings, volunteering, to-do lists, dinner, laundry, yard work, baseball games, swim practice, and just keeping up with the kids’ schedules is enough to make you feel like you’re drowning. But we press on. We push through. For a while. Until sooner or later we find ourselves coming up for air, on the verge of burnout, wondering how things got so out of control.
The idea of “getting off the ride” may look a little different for each of us. For some this means finding a sense of peace and turning to yoga, quiet time, or time away. For others, it means gaining a sense of structure through lists, whiteboards, schedules, etc. Some believe that if they just create enough balance in their life, things will improve. Still others search for a way to unload their stress through physical activity, entertainment, counseling, or time with friends and family. All of these are great ways to reduce and manage stress in life.
Manage. That’s the key word here. While I am an avid supporter of finding ways to balance life, manage stress, and find some peace, I feel given enough time we will find ourselves back where we started. Like a bandaid over a seeping wound, sometimes these “fix-it” solutions just aren’t enough. Sometimes only major surgery will do.
Perhaps the answer we’re searching for isn’t in figuring out how to get off the ride, but understanding Continue reading