My Daily Rant 1/27/2010
I have noticed lately that a lot of people have been writing about despair, suicide and depression. I imagine it has a lot to do with the time of year. January is a depressing month for many reasons. After the inflated expectations, vigorous planning, crazy spending and over indulgence of the Holidays, January often feels like a let down. It's kind of like a wedding, you spend months and tons of money planning something, and it's done in one day. Also, there is the gloomy weather, bad roads, and of course, the economy. Most businesses slow down exponentially in January (with the exception of tax professionals), so people's incomes are often down. Also, you have to think about getting ready for taxes, which if you are a business owner like myself, can be daunting. This January is no different, in fact it seems to be a little bleaker than usual. Our economy is in the crapper, unemplyment is at record highs, and our President and Congress seem intent on shoving things we don't want down our throats.
No wonder so many people are depressed. I can relate. My whole family has experienced quite a bit of depression over the past few months. It has been a very tough year. Life has not been kind, as is so often the case. And in a marriage, it's very difficult to keep a family afloat when both spouses are drowning in despair. Over the years, in my particular situation, one or the other has had highs and lows, but they typically seem to offset the other, so one person keeps the other motivated and such. When both are depressed, the whole family feels the effects.
I was lying in the tub last night thinking about that. How it's so easy to become absorbed by despair and feelings of helplessness, and then you start to feel sorry for yourself. No one likes me, no one would care if I died except when they ran out of laundry, everything bad happens to me, when is it my turn? And I realized something. I need to have perspective. Everyone needs to have perspective.
When my children are giving me trouble I never thought I would have to deal with, and I seriously don't think I can take another minute, I remind myself of my dear friend who lost a child in a car accident. I imagine he would gladly trade a little teenage angst or a strong willed little one for the hand he's been dealt. Perspective.
When I am finding myself frustrated because the paycheck always seems to run out before the bills are all paid, or before the next one, I remind myself of the man who has been out of work for six months. At least I have a job. Even if times are tough, I have a job. I have some money coming in. Perspective.
When I am annoyed because I feel like my extended family is sort of falling apart at the seams and doesn't have the close family ties they use to, I think of some loved ones who lost three family members all in the same day to a tragic accident. While my family may not be perfect, they are here. I can call them. I can email them. I can visit. Perspective.
When my children are driving me insane with their constant need for rides, money, help with homework, clean clothes, etc, I think of my husband who would give anything to have to deal with those things from his two children from a previous marriage who will have nothing to do with him. My kids can be needy, but how would I feel if they didn't need or want me? Perspective.
When I am sick and tired of working all day, just to go directly into cleaning and cooking and caring for my family with no break, I think of the millions of people who are working countless hours in Haiti. The ones who are seeing devastation, destruction and tragedy on a scale I will never, ever even begin to comprehend. Makes my messy house seem pretty trivial. At least I have a home. I have my family. I have running water and electricity and more than most of those people had even before the devastating earthquake. Perspective.
When I am overhwhelmed and need a break, but really don't know if I can afford to go on a much needed Girls Weekend, I think about the woman who won't be able to go to girls weekend because she needs to stay home and care for her paralyzed husband. Perspective.
When my husband annoys the ever loving snot out of me, I think of the woman whose husband has been overseas for months, and who may not come home. Perspective.
This goes for other people too. When I hear people complaining about how expensive their kitchen remodel is going to be, I think, "geez, I don't even know if I can pay my utilities this month. I sure wish I had your problems".
Or when I see someone on television agonizing over whether they should have a boob job or a tummy tuck, I think, "Thank goodness everyone in my family is healthy at the moment. We are uninsured and if someone gets sick or has an accident, we are screwed."
The thing is, everyone has times of trial. EVERYONE. No one is exempt. But the thing we all need to remember is, for as bad as you have it, I guarantee someone out there has it worse. Maybe if we all think a little about perspective when we find ourselves complaining, it might make us realize how very fortunate we really are.
I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions. But I for one am going to make a concerted effort to concentrate on my blessings, no matter how big or small. No one likes negativity. And I think Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said "Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be."
How happy will you be? It all depends on you.