Confession: I have a fear of public speaking. Unless I have a guitar strapped on my back and am ready to sing, I’d never like to be talking in front of a crowd. Hell, I don’t even like to be the loudest voice at a large dinner table gathering. For an extrovert, I’m sure this is unusual.
Years ago at work, I used to give this annual workshop to 100-150 people. It would happen around this time of year, and I’d start to gradually freak out at the beginning of the summer. My wife, who is the best public speaker ever, would give me tips to get through it. She’d also would remind me that I’d be speaking about my job. What I do every day. What I had done for the past eight years. Not, like, giving a book report on a book I hadn’t read. It did a lot to reassure me that it would really be OK. Perspective, you know?
Similarly, perspective is key these days when things seem “hard.”** Hard is watching your mother die. Hard is planning and attending her funeral. Hard is hearing that your wife has cancer. Hard is getting pregnant and giving birth. Hard is moving two people and two jobs to another city.
What’s not hard? Drinking my coffee black. Running four miles. Doing 50 sit-ups (well, that’s kiiiind of hard). Cooking breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, going to work.
So when I start buying pointy hats and kazoos for my pity party, or when I start to whine about God-knows-what, I have to remember the last few years we’ve had, and the perspective it’s given me.
I am not without compassion or empathy, and haven’t ever really subscribed to the “suck it up, buttercup” mantra that some folks have. But for me, every day, I’m trying to be more thankful of everything and everyone I have. I’m appreciating my family and friends, new and old. I’m taking better care of my physical and mental self. I’m being less critical. I’m trying to be less cynical. When I freak out about RR changing schools or houseguests, I have to think, “Cmon now! This is not hard!”
Sure, I’m not immune to things getting hard again, but in these calm summer months since my mom died, I’m trying to slow down and take in all of the love around me. And luckily, I am surrounded by a lot of love.
**Part of this post was inspired by this article, under the “It’s for your own good” part.