My life feels like the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” In many ways my life and work are the best it’s ever been. I have plenty of work and more work coming. I don’t work too much. I have moved my home office and now have a real office to go to each day. I feel good physically.
But in some ways, my life is not so good. My mom is in decline and I will likely lose her sooner rather than later. And with any adversity like that, there are two emotional competencies that usually decline rapidly: emotional self-awareness and impulse control. The emotional self-awareness declines and I “check out” emotionally. This is not good for my wife, my family, and sometimes my clients. And the worst part is that I tend to use most of my energy to make sure clients are happy, which leaves little energy for family, especially my wife. It’s not fair for her, and she and I are struggling with it.
The second area is impulse control, specifically with eating. When I am stressed, I tend to eat a lot. And I eat a lot of carbs and sugar. This is not good for me or those around me. I tend to zone out even more and have these highs and lows. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and energy.
So how am I coping with all of this? I’m doing the things I need to do to be fully present and aware of what’s going on around me. I try to stay in the moment. Sometimes I’m successful. Sometimes I’m not. I try to take care of myself and meditate daily, get an occasional massage, go to some movies, turn off work and focus on my wife and all of the things at home.
But the one thing that gives me the most hope, that helps me the most is something I learned from my dog, Ginger. When she was in decline, she stayed strong. She had such a vibrant soul and an inner strength, it was inspiring. It still is. I know I am strong. I have that inner strength. I know that I can deal with anything that life throws at me with courage and hope. I feel like Ginger is watching over me somehow, encouraging me and letting me know that this too shall pass.
There will always be good times and bad times. It’s understanding the transient nature of life and relying on that inner strength that keeps me going. If you have a story of courage and inner strength, I would like to hear about it.