I’ve seen some bits and pieces about how to manage these tempestuous times but I figure some concrete examples of how I manage my life nowadays might add something to the discussion.
I have been extremely immersed in what’s happening politically right now. I found out that Trump had won the election in the middle of the night when the nurse woke me up for fresh antibiotics while I was in rehab. I was stunned but still in such bad shape following emergency surgery to save my life that I really didn’t deal with any of it then.
After getting out of rehab, I was working on gaining strength and still didn’t have the energy to look too closely at the election. Then sometime before Christmas I started writing again. I have been doing a lot of that the past few years but mainly on genealogy and I’ve started a fiction book as well. Neither of those have been going well, perhaps because nearly dying is a life reset? I don’t know.
I was still treating Facebook as an extension of my business at that time. I didn’t want to offend anyone and lose business; I didn’t want to upset friends or family because I have always preferred to avoid face to face confrontation. But then I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. My major first step into the fray was a post on December 21 that I did not make public, beyond my Facebook friends until today. You can read my “manisfesto” here: https://www.facebook.com/Deliawl/posts/10209653356185030
Since then there have been ups and downs. I’ve not been a happy camper in general with healing wounds and worries about my future. The political climate has been discouraging and then at times encouraging (see this post) but most of all it has been wearing. For a while, I would have a nightly mini depression – then to wake up and go at it again in the morning. But I cannot sustain that.
So here are some things I’m doing to make my life better today:
- I reconnected with my Buddhism. Reread some passages. Reaffirmed how I want to live my life. Discussed this with my husband some to help untangle the anger I was feeling which was not very Buddha-like! Acceptance of reality is key.
- I write. It’s how I relieve tension. It’s how I know I can be effective and maybe shed some light on things, maybe inspire someone to be better or stronger, maybe reach out to others who I want to talk to. I cannot march or physically protest. I don’t have a physical outlet for my anger. So I have to make the writing work for me.
- Letting go of the anger. I can’t stay mad and survive this. At some point, many of us said “I cannot accept the fact that Trump won” because his presidency seems to be a denial of all important things many of us hold dear. Sorry, folks, he is the president. Maybe he won’t be around for long and maybe he will. I doubt that any of us can do anything about that. Screaming via facebook about his idiocies can help to relieve the anger but it can also hurt. Stop looking at those inflammatory headlines. Stop rehashing yesterday’s news. Don’t forget but don’t dwell. You are only hurting yourself.
- Research. Don’t just read a headline. Read the article. Google the same words and see where else has that appeared. Find out who reported it first. Follow those source links – I keeping finding better articles in those sources. I learn.
- Find your objectivity. You must have some. You got through school, right? You write papers? You had to be objective at some point before. Recall those lessons.
- So being objective is taking something and seeing if you can find definitive proof. Case in point, the cost of Trump’s presidency. You can easily find estimates of what a trip costs or the security at a Trump event or at the “Tower”. Doesn’t matter what you think might be happening, we really don’t know. Estimates. Not real numbers. When the average Trumper thinks Trump either, one, deserves it or, two, that he pays part of his expenses, those estimates are simply not going to convince them of anything. I had to say to my friend essentially that neither of us can prove a thing. In the end, for now, a non-issue and really not important in the big picture. She and I came away from the discussion feeling good that we talked. That became the important thing.
- I still am on Facebook regularly throughout the day but I ignore things that are upsetting. I’m looking at sources first and not following thru looking at some of these websites that simply don’t deliver much in the way of news, slanted or not. I am paying more attention to other types of posts. I got irritated at the wall of art thing but it is nice now to see some more congenial things being posted. I still like the political cartoons when they make me laugh but I’m not obsessing like I was before. Then I turn it off and go do something else. Without worrying over the rest of the nation or the world.
- I am able to see some encouraging bits of light – something that you can’t see if you don’t research. I looked at Trump’s speech in Florida. Figured out quickly what he might have been trying to say (and failing miserably) about Sweden and where it came from. (He did actually clarify it later.) Then I read the end of his speech. I did not watch it so I don’t know what it looked like. What I do see is a bit of the unifying America theme instead of the us against them mentality. A bit of a departure for him. Now his behavior and choices may be modifying a bit. He is learning? Don’t know. Willing to allow him growth ’cause he sure needs it. (snark)
- And I’m reaching out to folks, trying to talk to folks. To find out what they are thinking. Sitting here and just repeating “I don’t understand why you think that way” is foolish. I believe we have to learn to talk all over again. So I try to find folks who are able to carry on some type of reasonable conversation – no name calling or screaming about Obama or Clinton. I may not agree with anything they say but I’m now valuing civil discourse above all. I may not agree but at least I can begin to see where they are coming from and be able to talk with them without one of us getting mad and stomping off into another corner of the internet.
- I have to believe our nation will survive this and, folks, I am not known to be an optimist. I have realized from the start that many things and many people are going to get hurt from these policies that I don’t agree with. I know people will die if the Republicans have their way with the repeal and replace. I’m prepared for another war. It won’t be the last but maybe it won’t happen. That is, by the way, where I draw the line. You might well find me out there protesting again in that case.
I have a multi-fold mission: inspire, learn, teach and stay sane.
In the meantime, I have a life to live. It’s not easy but life isn’t easy. Things have changed for many of us. Once you accept that change, you will find life will improve.
Acceptance is key to the staying sane part.
That Serenity Prayer that I embroidered many, many years ago works. Accept what you cannot change, have courage to change the things you can and know which is which. Start thinking about about that. Start categorizing your actions and thoughts that way. You might just find it works.