Three Thoughts on the Fine Art of Treading Water

Many of us have had those moments, haven’t we?

Seasons in our lives where life becomes so overwhelming for one reason or another, and it feels like we’re barely hanging on…seasons when treading water is the greatest accomplishment.

I’m reflecting a bit as I come to the one year anniversary of the car accident that nearly killed two of my kids.

By nature, I’m the sort of person who needs to have measurable progress. Days, seasons, like this are annoying to me. Not a fan. 🙂 I’ve had to learn how to deal with an accept these seasons of treading water do sometimes happen.

Here are three thoughts I’ve had recently on the fine art of treading water.

Thought One: Life isn’t Always Perfect…Learn to Relax and Roll with it.

I love to have goals to reach for…it motivates me. However, sometimes those can also frustrate me if I’m dealing with other more pressing matters. It’s good to hold up an ideal to strive for, but only if you understand:

I may not hit this ideal, and that’s okay. Progress in the right direction over the long haul is what counts.

I may not hit this ideal, + that's okay. Progress in the right direction is what counts. Click To Tweet

Learning to stay reasonably focused on what needs to get done, while learning to also relax and roll with the changes that life throws at you when the season dictates, are both important…and can be fun.

 

Life is more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.

In fact, one of my favorite quotes of all time is by Jimmy Buffett, and says,

Life is more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt, as opposed to a surprise party.

Truer words, folks…

Thought Two: People Mean Well Even If Their Advice is Stupid, Ill-Timed, Useless, and Annoying….Have Some Grace

When I was younger and still knew everything (ahem)…I was so guilty of giving advice and telling everyone how to fix things. Of course, that is how I’m wired…I like “three steps to making it all better” sorts of solutions to all my problems.

When my kids were in that bad car wreck earlier this year, I was in the midst of a flare up AND battling stomach flu on that day it happened. Usually, any kind of flu sends me spiraling out of control, but I was already not doing well…then the stomach flu…and the stress….and having to eat on the run.

But then there were the people who “knew” that I “needed” Plexus, or essential oils, or this brand of natural remedies, books about how fibromyalgia is caused by people not being vegetarian, or caused by people not being paleo, or caused by coffee, or cured by coffee…Someone made me salmon even though I’m highly allergic to fish, because it’s good for you. Then insisted I eat some after I explained my allergy as if she didn’t grasp what I just said…Pray more, meditate on this, “stop worrying”…

People want you to know they care, but in their effort to communicate this, they can’t figure out how or when to stop talking. It feels rude to back off and not hug you even when you’re saying, “Please, I’m having panic attacks since the car accident. I need space.” because they want people to hug them when they aren’t feeling well and they don’t understand how to take someone who doesn’t like hugs.

People want you to know they care, but in communicating this, it's rarely perfect. Click To Tweet

And, unless someone has ever had some kind of weird anxiety issue or panic attack as the result of illness, they can’t possibly understand the difference between that and “being unnecessarily worried”. I know I didn’t. Maybe some day God will teach them that unpleasant lesson, too.

The important thing for us to remember, as we go through things like this, is not whether or not people did the “right” things. But that people cared enough to try to show they cared and wanted to help.

It's important to remember that people do care

 

Thought Three: Embrace Your Therapy while Treading Water

It’s taken me until the age of 46 to realize that we all have our own brand of therapy (so to speak) that works in our lives. Everyone else may make suggestions, usually based on what works for them, but in the end, we have to embrace that which works well for us.

For me, I’ve had to come to accept that sometimes the best thing is to put some ear buds in, and listen to music. Jam out.

Never underestimate the therapeutic benefits of listening to music loudly, and singing along.

Never underestimate the therapeutic benefits of listening to music loudly + singing along. Click To Tweet

Failing that, watching Galaxy Quest usually makes me feel all better, as does spending time sketching, playing around in PhotoShop, or otherwise being creative with no purpose or plan.

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