Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. It wasn’t a major AHA moment. There was no burning bush, no light bulb flashed through my mind like in the cartoons (bummer).
The insight came after I’d eaten Mexican food with my seventeen-year-old son at our favorite dive. Brilliance happens through tacos and guacamole in Texas, y’all.
Here’s the major life lesson that quietly came to me as I drove home from dinner. I hope it enlightens you as well …
Change is HARD. Stress SUCKS.
I didn’t say these are new revelations, but they are truths we must face over and over again.
Overall, my family is happy and healthy. It’s all that truly matters, but the past 12 months have been packed with transitions:
*My husband and I each turned 50 (yay!/boo!).
*Our oldest child left for college. We’ll be empty nesters this time next year after our youngest does the same.
*2017 marked the 30th anniversary of my dad’s death.
*The precious man my mother dated for 15 years died of ALS.
*My mother-in-law of almost 27 years moved into a memory-loss unit because of Alzheimer’s.
All of the above were major milestones, but stress can also be more run-of-the-mill crap, too. During a three-week period, I kid you not:
*All our sinks stopped up and our hallway bathroom flooded. I had to throw away several items, and was disgusting to clean.
*Our air conditioner broke during a 90-degree spell. It took days before the repairman could fix our AC.
*Overnight, my car became a money pit, and we had to buy a new-used car we hadn’t anticipated. There’s several grand gone.
*To top it all off, my husband lost his wallet that had $1,100 cash in it! Fortunately, he found said wallet barricaded in my daughter’s room during the broken AC debacle.
No Big Deals
Whoever said that is a fool.
A child leaving for college is a BIG deal. Someone you love dying is a BIG deal. Turning 50 is a BIG deal. When I reflected during my post-Mexican food epiphany about EVERYTHING that has happened this year, big and little, I thought … no WONDER I’m so emotionally exhausted!
Don’t feel sorry for me. Please don’t say you’re sorry. I’m not whining. I was just trying to pinpoint my emotional overwhelm.
Besides these biggies, there will always be pain-in-the ass situations. Too many bills and not enough money. Strep throat keeps passing through your family and you can’t seem to get well. You want go to the gym, but something else always gets in the way.
Take a Weird Break
I wish I had a snappy 3-step process on how to deal with change, all easy-peasy, but life doesn’t work that way. I may write fiction, but I live in a place called reality. Still, managing stress is an ongoing part of life.
I’m not a professional, and I don’t play one on TV, but here are a few things I may or may not do to de-stress:
*Punch a pillow.
*Run screaming from the house (go out the back door, to avoid freaking out neighbors. No back door? Scream into a pillow).
*Dance to favorite song from junior high or high school.
*Stand on your head (do this against a wall or you’ll fall over).
Here’s a great post I found even more great tips by Donna Norton: Top 18 Tips to Defeat Stress without Med or Shrinks.
Know this. You’re not alone. Everyone’s life is filled with ups-and-downs, no matter how shiny their lives seem from the outside.
I’m approaching the one-year mark of when my life cranked into overdrive and I’m still standing. I’m working on the sequel to Pennies every day and I have’t lost my mind. Yet.
So, suck it, stress.
What’s the WEIRDEST thing you do to de-stress?
Please leave comment. Let’s talk.
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