Vicarious perspective

I have been meaning to type in this box for a long time. For a year, in fact.

I see that the last time I wrote, I asked 2014 for more quietness. I will not ask the same of 2015.

I started my New Year’s blog yesterday, carefully laying out the excuses valid reasons for my absence from writing. The theme of yesterday’s blog was intense, as in, 2014 did NOT deliver a more mundane year. It was a crazy chain of events, both self-inflicted and bestowed upon me, that has left me mentally exhausted. AND my feet hurt. In yesterday’s blog, I wanted wit, insight and yes, an ounce of sympathy for my weary soul, in 300-600 words.

During my whining musings, I got a Skype call from one of my closest friends. She recently returned from her Doctors without Borders assignment in South Sudan. Her husband is currently in Liberia. His only Christmas wish was that we pray for the lives of 4 children in the treatment center who fell sick after watching their father die.  Talk about dumping a truckload of perspective on my Christmas wishes; two uninterrupted days without plans or kitchen time; winter running tights, more coconut Lindt balls…

I reread my words through critical eyes. They tell me that despite mental exhaustion being relative, I’m barely scratching the surface.

I think back on 2014. To a year’s worth of conversations with tired, angry employees who kill their knees standing 8-10 hours on hard, cold concrete; pissed that their socioeconomic status clumps them into that category of “well, clearly you’re just not working hard enough”. …to conversations with quiet men who are watching the light quickly leave their wife’s eyes…with women who don’t know how to leave. Staring at nicotine-stained fingertips, wondering why they pick another carton over heating their house.

I see a picture on Facebook of an old friend with her sister, the one she lost two years ago today. What would that year be like? I stop my brain from going there…

Conversations, images that leave me numb. And humbled. Vicarious learning that prevents me from declaring, “Holy shit guys, have I had an INTENSE year!!”

I’ve had a busy year. I’ve had some incredible moments, chronic challenges and a few painful episodes. But I realize most of us (I am not alone in this) tend to exaggerate what is truly “intense” and ‘mentally exhausting” and what actually, really sucks. I look back on 2014 and know that I have a good life. I hit bumps in the road, but it’s fairly well-paved.

I will not ask 2015 to be gentle, I know better. I will ask myself  to stay open to perspectives that keep my self-induced chaos in check.

I end this year with a lesson in hope and prayer. My friend in Liberia got his Christmas wish. Statistically, this is miracle, but all four siblings are Ebola-free and with their mother.

May this new year find you healthier, happier and sometimes, humbled.

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5 thoughts on “Vicarious perspective

  1. Tricia says:

    This is a great post Amy and a good reminder that somebody, somewhere is always going through something worse, sometimes much worse. It surely helps keep things in perspective. Happy New Year my friend! 😉

  2. aejohnson says:

    I don’t want to minimize what we do go through. Life, and what it deals us, and how we handle it, IS all relative. We do deal with tough stuff. Realistically, if I’m having a shitty day and feel overwhelmed, I’m going to acknowledge that and do what I can to make myself feel better, and that may not include declaring “But what about Ebola!?”

    But I found myself writing an end-of-year blog, my first in a year, that pointed out how crazy I was feeling (and I am) when various sources were pointing out that most of life, on a larger scale, is indeed crazy, and more so than my life. It felt very selfish and whiny. It made me want to think outside myself going into the new year.

  3. prairiesparrow says:

    Great post Amy- My grumblings are also put into perspective when I read/see others with truly herculean troubles….just good to be reminded of it- sometimes on a daily basis 🙂

  4. Cathy Jehn says:

    Thank you. I have gotten bitchy this past year and feeling at the end of my rope with trying to cope and live back and forth between two cities. I don’t have it so bad. Thanks for the reminder.

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