Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Give Yourself a Break!

 

Okay, I admit it. I have always been the kind of person who’s wanted to dive deeply into the big issues of the day: the virus, riots, governance, statues. You name it, I’m probably obsessed with it. Part of that attitude may be slightly disturbed, but I swear that some of it comes from curiosity and a love of learning. (At least that’s my defense.)

But it’s easy to become overwhelmed by current events. You may make the decision to simply check out. To refuse to discuss it. To avoid getting any kind of updates. And that’s fine.

But I simply can’t do that.

So, I had to come up with a solution that would give me a mental and emotional break from the craziness that’s going on, while staying engaged.

I made a list.

I wrote down people, situations, activities, and ideas that are the substance of my life. It’s a bit like being in the world, but not of it. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying and helpful it was to recognize, through the physical activity of writing, pen to paper, that life, my life, is much more than all those things “out there.” Here’s part of my list:

  • In spite of a personal health scare, I have great health.
  • I can look into my back ard and see the most gorgeous dark pink crepe myrtles blooming.
  • My husband and I are about to celebrate our 46th—count ’em—anniversary, and we may even go out to a nice restaurant!
  • I love my studies and my ongoing learning.
  • I love having friends who care about me and love me back.
  • I am so grateful that I can write in a way that many people seem to enjoy.
  • I am growing in my confidence that I can protect myself in potentially dangerous situations.
  • I love having prayer and meditation in my life.

There’s more, but this list was a great start!

* * * * *

I don’t make lists often, but more than 20 years ago I created another list that helped me through a difficult time in my life.

I felt I had no friends.

Now that may sound foolish or pathetic, but at the time, that’s how I felt.

Something inspired me to make a list, however short it might be, of the people I would call friends. No cheating with adding “acquaintances”; they had to be real friends.

When I finished the list, I was astounded: I had lots of friends! Some of them lived out of state; some of them were not in touch very often—but they were all friends, people who cared about me and whom I could call on in a pinch.

You can just imagine how gratifying that exercise was.

So, take the time to write a list that describes the substance of your life. Review it periodically or when you feel helpless to change the chaotic world. The list will remind you of how rich your own life is and how many blessings you have.

Give yourself the gift of your life.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you, Susan. This is advice I shall follow.

    • #1
    • June 29, 2020, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. James Madison Member

    Time to ease back. We need to repeat Frank Costanza’s mantra, “Serenity Now.”

    Trump has not lost the election.

    The Supreme Court is not going full Gorsuch (or Roberts, take your pick).

    BLM is like a pandemic, it will (literally) burn itself out.

    People know MANTIFA is Marxist.

    Colin Kaepernick may yet play in the NFL, and all will moan.

    Retirement communities like The Villages no longer teach dancing, yoga and ceramics, they now teach rioting, bad golf cart driving, and spewing vitriol.

    University campuses are proving to be less relevant with virtual, online classes.

    Twitter is an inner-ring of Dante’s Inferno, not a place to visit voluntarily.

    Facebook was cool, in 2006.

    And California will keep sinking into the Pacific – do we really care?

    • #2
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Rodin Member

    Your listing helps impose rationality on irrational thinking. When I was young I simply assumed that the more we learned the more rational we become. But in law school I had a revelation courtesy of a someone I knew in college who followed me to law school a couple years later: He was in love with a smart and beautiful young woman who was herself graduating from college at the time. She, too, loved him and it seemed like a good match that must end in marriage. But she had been accepted and wanted to go to med school. He wanted a stay-at-home wife. It was a time in which we were all supposed to be more enlightened about two-professional families. When he shared his feelings with me I gave him all the arguments for why his “feelings” about “his wife’s role” shouldn’t prevent him marrying a wonderful woman who wanted to practice medicine. It wasn’t rational. He acknowledged as much but said he couldn’t shake the “feelings” he had about it and so the relationship was doomed. I knew how strongly they felt about each other and they seemed the perfect match. How could he not overcome an old-fashioned attitude that was standing in the way of his happiness?! He was intelligent and educated, but he could not overcome this “feeling”. That is when I really came to grips with the unshakeable duality of our natures. Our mind is often at war with our heart. There may be battles won, but the war never ends. 

    • #3
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:10 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Thank you, Susan. This is advice I shall follow.

    amen

    • #4
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Brandon Member

    My wife and I live waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. If it wasn’t for mass media, you wouldn’t even know there was anything particularly odd going on in the world. I have a keen understanding of what is going on in the world, but I try to remind myself to be thankful that it hasn’t touched our little part of the world. I spend most of my time working in my garden or tidying up the farm. My neighbors (all around 5 miles away) are elderly, so I make sure that I check in on them whenever I can. I sit on my deck in the evening resting my feet, watching the trees sway in the breeze. It is a good life.

    I know that there is an overwhelming impulse toward anger and mistrust permeating our nation, but I can’t help but feel gratitude for the life that I have.

    • #5
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    He was intelligent and educated, but he could not overcome this “feeling”.

    Poor fellow. I think what he was calling “feeling” was probably intuition.

    I didn’t think I was capable of working and raising children. My choice? Work and not have children. Wise? I’ll never know.

    • #6
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):
    I know that there is an overwhelming impulse toward anger and mistrust permeating our nation, but I can’t help but feel gratitude for the life that I have.

    Good for you, @mbrandongodbey. Wise choices. Gratitude is so soul-filling.

    • #7
    • June 29, 2020, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    I’ve been tuning out some of the usual political talk since everything became all COVID all the time, and then all race riots all the time. Instead, I’ve been binging on voices of reason, such as Shelby Steele, Coleman Hughes, Jason Riley, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and others.

    • #8
    • June 29, 2020, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    I’ve been tuning out some of the usual political talk since everything became all COVID all the time, and then all race riots all the time. Instead, I’ve been binging on voices of reason, such as Shelby Steele, Coleman Hughes, Jason Riley, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and others.

    Also a great idea @thesockmonkey!

    • #9
    • June 29, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Time to ease back. We need to repeat Frank Costanza’s mantra, “Serenity Now.”

    Trump has not lost the election.

    The Supreme Court is not going full Gorsuch (or Roberts, take your pick).

    BLM is like a pandemic, it will (literally) burn itself out.

    People know MANTIFA is Marxist.

    Colin Kaepernick may yet play in the NFL, and all will moan.

    Retirement communities like The Villages no longer teach dancing, yoga and ceramics, they now teach rioting, bad golf cart driving, and spewing vitriol.

    University campuses are proving to be less relevant with virtual, online classes.

    Twitter is an inner-ring of Dante’s Inferno, not a place to visit voluntarily.

    Facebook was cool, in 2006.

    And California will keep sinking into the Pacific – do we really care?

    Thanks for making me smile, @jamesmadison! And good to see you.

    • #10
    • June 29, 2020, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. I Walton Member

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Time to ease back. We need to repeat Frank Costanza’s mantra, “Serenity Now.”

    Trump has not lost the election.

    The Supreme Court is not going full Gorsuch (or Roberts, take your pick).

    BLM is like a pandemic, it will (literally) burn itself out.

    People know MANTIFA is Marxist.

    Colin Kaepernick may yet play in the NFL, and all will moan.

    Retirement communities like The Villages no longer teach dancing, yoga and ceramics, they now teach rioting, bad golf cart driving, and spewing vitriol.

    University campuses are proving to be less relevant with virtual, online classes.

    Twitter is an inner-ring of Dante’s Inferno, not a place to visit voluntarily.

    Facebook was cool, in 2006.

    And California will keep sinking into the Pacific – do we really care?

    Well yes, and you live in or lived in that part of the world. We even need the loser states like California to contend with China.

    • #11
    • June 29, 2020, at 3:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    Your post is timely. Thank you for your goodness and inspiration! I’m glad you’re doing better physically. 

    We just spent the weekend at my family’s ranch. Just the four of us. It was a wonderful way to recharge and focus on the most important things. It was only 3 days, but it restored my love for life. Seeing chipmunks, deer, bunnies, and other wildlife is a plus, too.

    • #12
    • June 29, 2020, at 3:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    ShaunaHunt (View Comment):

    Your post is timely. Thank you for your goodness and inspiration! I’m glad you’re doing better physically.

    We just spent the weekend at my family’s ranch. Just the four of us. It was a wonderful way to recharge and focus on the most important things. It was only 3 days, but it restored my love for life. Seeing chipmunks, deer, bunnies, and other wildlife is a plus, too.

    Thanks, @shaunahunt. As you predicted, the stent was very uncomfortable–I was so glad to have it removed! I’m doing much better.

    I’m so glad you had that restorative time. It sounds like it was lovely.

    • #13
    • June 29, 2020, at 4:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes