SO much going on in the past couple of weeks that I’ve had little time to sit down and type out my thoughts. Not until I became a parent did I appreciate how completely insane the month of June can be!
Today was my older girls’ Last Day Of School. (Capitalized because it might as well be a national holiday, judging by the number of times I’ve been asked, “When is it?” over the past two months.) They had a great year with fabulous teachers, so we decided to join a group of parents who were picking up their kids and meeting downtown to get sugared up at a cupcake shop and an ice cream place.
Part of the fun was decorating our cars with window markers, streamers, and such so the kids could drive past the waiting school staff, parade style, hollering and waving and starting off the summer with a bang. The girls loved driving past their teachers and into town in our SUV emblazoned with “Have A Great Summer!”, “Thanks Mrs. H!” etc. We were certainly a spectacle as we drove through the main streets, one car behind the other, all decorated and beeping our horns, blasting tunes like “What Time Is It” from High School Musical 2.
If I had to guess, I’d say about 75% of the people we passed (whose reactions were visible to me) looked indifferent, sometimes irritated or scornful, and occasionally confused. (Odd, considering that our purpose was basically written all over our cars…)
The other 25% smiled, laughed, waved, honked their horns – we even had a traffic cop do a little dance as we passed. I couldn’t help but find that kind of disillusioning. To think that the majority of people would react to a bunch of children and families sharing a joyful moment with apathy, even disdain… well, that’s just kind of sad to me. What the hell is happening to us?
As someone who has been through depression and anxiety – had my body and brain create lousy feelings and reactions against my will – I cannot begin to understand why the average healthy person would choose negativity. I would have given anything for the ability to turn off my blah switch and embrace all the good things in life when I was in my darkest days. To think that there are people out there who have that amazing power and don’t use it… it boggles my mind.
Yes, life and the people in it suck sometimes. A lot. But there is so much beauty if you allow it to be your primary focus instead of the bullshit. There is gorgeous weather and the natural wonders of the outdoors – birds, animals, flowers, water. There are hobbies and interests that can bring fun, learning, and accomplishment. There are amazing moments with the people we love; snuggling with our partners, laughing with friends, playing with our children, even cuddling with a pet. There are new adventures to be had at the first opportunity, however simple or inexpensive they may have to be. There is the incredible freedom you’ve been blessed with if your daily responsibilities still allow you the time and resources to enjoy anything I’ve just mentioned, or anything else that brings you happiness.
Choose joy. Embrace it and savor it in each moment. Honor your blessings by enjoying them, making them a priority. Laugh at other people’s kids acting goofy on the last day of school.
If you can’t, try as you might, look within. If changes need to be made, start making them. If you need help, ask for it. I know what it’s like to look back and realize that a chunk of my life was stolen from me, and that I can never get it back. I am thankful that it only took me a couple of years to get to a place where I feel like the master of my life again. Take back control as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.
I used to listen to this a lot, and sing along good and loud. Now I mean it. I won’t worry my life away.