The main problem is that we have been visiting festivals and crowded places a lot lately and I am simply overwhelmed by it all. I realized I was done and needed a respite last night at a concert, usually one of my favorite ways to unwind while just wearing myself right out with the intensity that goes along with such an event. I saw very quickly that the only person I could relate to in the building was the shy lead singer of the Lemonheads who couldn't make eye contact with anyone but his band members. I love going to concerts by myself and just silently being for a few hours and enjoying that world outside of my usual world for a bit, but it just wasn't happening last night. In fact, by the time the headlining band, the Psychedelic Furs, who I was there to hear and had thoroughly enjoyed seeing live last year, came on and sang two of my favorite songs from my teen years, I was ready to go home. Too much. I was floored by my own desire to leave and became convinced that I'm getting old, old, old. The muffled ears and joint pain I'm experiencing today serve to emphasize this fact.
This afternoon, however, I think I'm realizing what the underlying irritant is. It goes along with my tendency to be judgemental of the human species in general, like the Grinch who stays up on Mt. Crumpet, rarely coming down to interact with the others of his species. (Oh wait...I don't know if they are the same species, but, yup! That's exactly how I'm feeling right now.) It's awful and pretty hilarious, actually. I am always working on just being a nicer person but can't ever seem to get there. I know now that these traits are textbook HSP introvert qualities (not that HSPs, introverted or extroverted, are unkind people), but I still need to work on being less judgemental. I tend to notice and want to correct injustices when I see them, so end up getting critical. You should see what a tizzy these election debates have had me in! DON'T get me started.
BUT...the situations that have me rolling my eyes stand out because I have been seeing examples of how well some people handle adversity as opposed to others who create their own problems and then whine all day to everyone about them.
"Every piece of this is man's bullshit. They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!' " ~ Ruby Thewes, Cold Mountain
I have one dear friend who became a single mom after her husband had an affair then left her and the kids when their second child was born. Over the years that we have been friends I have watched her work hard to single-handedly grow those children in a loving home, while attending college at the same time. She has just learned that she is well into a third pregnancy and in just a few months will have another child to parent on her own. Is she whining? Is she complaining? Has she expressed one bit of fear or negativity toward her new life direction? No. This is BIG and I'm sure she's had moments of panic, but I am so impressed with her attitude. It's inspiring!
A sweet lady I know had cancer for a year. A year. I didn't hear a word about it until it was over, or very nearly so. Did she complain to everyone she came in contact with? Nope. No public displays of "woe is me", or "I don't understand why I'm being punished in this way". No, those are the things I hear from people who are having trouble picking tile colors for their kitchen back splashes, and I am ashamed to admit that I am guilty of this type of petty whining myself.
Another friend has moved her family, with only a month's notice, if I recall, to an entirely different part of the country, from a house and property they owned to an apartment complex, and I am just seeing all the positive comments she makes about her new life and exploring their new area. No whining, no complaining, she's just adjusting and making the most of the change. For someone who experiences insecurity when even good changes occur, I am truly impressed with her attitude.
This week I read a heartbreaking story of a couple whose baby lived for only two weeks. Are they cursing the heavens? No. They are expressing gratitude for those two weeks. Another family's married daughter who suffers from sickle cell disease went into a coma and is on a ventilator. She has awaken, and her family shows gratitude for every toe wiggle, eye focus, and reaction to their voices and presence. No complaining.
My boys are friends with two children whose mother, a single parent, died of cancer three years ago. Are those kids in pain? Certainly, they are, but they hold their heads high and carry on as normal teenagers. That is daily inspiration for me. Every single time I look at those kids and remember their mother and remember seeing her with them before she became ill, my eyes sting and I have to bite my tongue. I feel sorry them, and I pity them. As a mother I can't help but feel that way, but when I see how great they are I am so proud for her sake. They didn't just adapt, they are good kids, hilarious, and the centers of their own circles of friends, not because of what has happened to them but because of who they choose to be and how they have decided to face what life has given them.
And now would be the perfect time to list examples of the other sort, but that wouldn't be very nice, and I'm trying SO hard to just be nice. But, seriously, some of the things people say and do make my head spin and my bp go up and my face flush and make me want to work hard to be a glass is half full person. I don't want to be one of those others.
I can do it. Some day I'll make it. See? Already, I'm thinking more positively from all the inspiration! ;)