Go With the Flow-Lessons in Life
This is my story. By Diana Pierce
As a senior citizen one learns a lot through the years of managing school, jobs, marriage, and taking care of a family. Most of these things do not come with instructions, especially for areas requiring common sense. I’ve certainly had my share of ups and downs dealing with all of these things. And often times I let things bother me that shouldn’t have. I made mountains out of mole hills or expected a good cry would fix whatever the problem was at the time.
I found myself to be timid, emotional, scared or just plain upset with the whole world around me. I let what others thought of me destroy any hopes of a stress free happy life. I believed false accusations and I second guessed my own wits. In school at an early age I became the victim of teasing easily because I was bullied most of my childhood by those who should have been and who pretended to be friendly. Name calling to a fat kid only makes them tend to eat all the more. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized I really wasn’t that fat and in my adult life I managed to shed pounds and reveal a healthy size more than once. But, that never lasted long. Today, I am bigger than I’ve ever been. I know I need to get to a healthy size again. Maybe one day soon, maybe not, but either way I’m not obsessed with any weight lose plan and I finally got it, I got that whatever I do, I’m me. Big or small, I’m me. Take me or leave me. Whatever I do with the rest of my life depends on my coming to grips with what is best for me and what makes me happy.
Discrimination or prejudice can hurt us all.
In high school, I learned what discrimination was and even though I’m white that doesn’t mean these things never surface in front of me. I went to nearly an all white school. Only a few black children attended and a few families were only there a couple of months until harvest time was over because they were migrate-workers that came to pick beans or other vegetables. One boy was in my seventh grade class, the year was 1968. He was caught chewing gum in class. The teacher called the principal down to spank him. It was a horrible sight to witness. I went through high school thinking my principal was prejudice. I never saw any of the other kids take a spanking like that throughout my six years there. Until this day I think it was show of pure prejudice.
I was discriminated myself as the years went on. One year our Home Ec. class refurnished furniture. I was working on redoing a cane rocking chair and had a couple friends working on it with me. My classmates got a higher grade for the project than I did. I still have that chair. I have also reworked cane in chairs since then. Another year we were writing short stories in English class. I had a note returned to me along with my paper wanting to know who helped me write the story, if I wished to have a higher grade. I had no help writing that story and I told the teacher I had written it during play practice and that he could ask our class advisor because he was also there. Just maybe had I not saw such an issue with this English teacher I may have become a better writer and not just a penny less content author.
Discriminating circumstances seem to follow me throughout life. One year at my factory job we were asked to work a couple extra hours each day. I worked days. They wanted us to come in early. It was much more convenient for me to stay longer as we only had one car at the time and I had to stay in town longer anyways to catch my husband when he came through. I generally would be at his mom’s house after I finished my shift. It was an inconvenience, but you do what you have to do. In the meantime my kids are at my mom’s house until we get there. I see that a couple co-workers were allowed to change their hours for the later ones. I ask if I can. My reason was not as important as theirs so I was denied. Needless to say those old feelings of being discriminated rekindled. I can’t believe I stayed at that job so many years. Their biggest act of unfair ordeals was yet to be seen. One year they cleaned house and let many of us old help go. Supervisors, inspectors, and laborers in which some had been there over 30 years and I was there 22 years myself, we were laid off. They kept those new young workers because they worked cheaper. Amazingly this company is still in business and it is still practicing this kind of discrimination. Although I still feel bitterness for their actions against me and the others I know it was for the best. I’ve found much better ways to make ends meet.
I try hard not to sweat the small stuff.
Between the bullying and unfairness dealt me I lived much of my life with a very low self esteem. The worst it got the more stress developed. Days of carefree and happy times seldom existed. That was then. Now I go with the flow. I try hard not to sweat the small stuff or it will rule me. I avoid as much negativity as possible.
Many of those stressful years were times when I would either eat or smoke to satisfy my desire to avoid problems. I finally convinced myself that I did not want to go into my golden years smoking those nasty cigarettes. I quit. I should have done it much sooner. I lost loved ones to cancer and heart disease, yet I couldn’t let go the control nicotine had on me. My husband, Bill was even worse than I was. He smoked way too much and had already health problems because of it. My biggest reason to quit was in hopes that he would also quit. That never happened, but I’m glad to say I am past four years smoke free.
I lost Bill, December 12, 2014 due to complications brought on by his smoking habits. COPD, congestive heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest took him at the age of 63. No wonder he was a big complainer and gave me such a hard time about most everything. He was beyond miserable with himself. My biggest regrets are that I couldn’t help him. I let him treat me like an enemy instead of his wife. I could do absolutely nothing to please him. Stress levels soared high with no chance of relief. Enough is enough and I truly believe nothing happens without reason. I honestly don’t know how much more I could have taken. Running away entered my mind often. Yet, I stayed I knew I had to. With all that being said, I sure do miss him. I don’t miss the stress. My life now is pretty much, stress free.
Over the years I was not at liberty to be my own boss. I answered to my parents, my teachers, my job supervisors and my husband so I was at a lost when I finally found myself able to make decisions on my own. Many choices we make in life are wrong, but never allowing yourself to be able to make your own decisions is the worst wrong of all. It causes more than stress, it causes a low self esteem, certain depressions associated with eating disorders as well as living with regrets that shouldn’t be there. We are who we are. We are the only ones who can control our own happiness. We cannot allow negativity to destroy who we are. The kindest way to deal with any of this is to learn to go with the flow. And the older I get the more I don’t care one way or another, rather things are going right or not. Everything happens for a reason. Something breaks, you fix it, if it can’t be fixed, replace it or learn to live without it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Go with the flow. Everything eventually comes full circle and turns out right. If it doesn’t in a hundred years from now who is going know. And so what if they do? We gave it our best shot and that’s all we can do.