What is going on? I am hearing such a consistent chorus of plaintive, frustrated voices.
“I have an overwhelming feeling that I’m going to be robbed of time with my loved ones”. “Everything is roiling…churning and feeling unsettled”. “I keep having escape fantasies, imagining being able to run away from my life.” And on and on. I hear this from men and women alike. Coaching clients, friends and family.
So, what IS going on? Some people believe it is the time of year. Summer is coming to a swift end, school has started and the lazy pace of the past few months has given way to the frantic pursuit of time control. Others tell me it is the mean and constant rhetoric associated with the seemingly endless campaign cycle. And, I’ve been told that it has to do with the path of our surrounding planets, exerting a gravitational pull that tugs at our hearts and heads. I don’t know for sure, but perhaps it is all of the above and more.
Sitting in the airport, I watched a woman, about my age, tuck her mother into an airport-issue wheelchair. She smoothed down her dress and gently patted her shoulder. On her other side sat her elderly father, also in a wheelchair, staring absently into space. Once her mother was settled, the woman reached into her bag, pulled out a tissue and carefully, surreptitiously wiped her father’s chin.
Shortly, the airline staff called for those “needing a little assistance” to come forward. The woman jostled and fretted, trying to gather up all of her gear and her parents as well. This took some time and we all stood by as the little show played out. Behind me I heard a loud and melodramatic sigh. A barrel chested chap in a double-breasted suit turned to his colleague and in a false whisper said, “Really! Some people need to realize they are just too old to fly!”
I gave him my best version of the evil eye, but then guiltily realized I was feeling impatient and irritated too. What IS going on? This isn’t me. Why would anyone be in a hurry to squeeze into the cramped quarters of a plane? And where was my compassion?Were the planets messing with my mind? Maybe not.
Maybe we are all being squeezed just a little too tight. We struggle to care for those we love. We struggle to understand our political landscape and feel confident in our futures. We struggle with a barrage of bad news in a media stream that never shuts off. We struggle to find a sense of connection and camaraderie in an increasingly virtual world. And we struggle to live up to the impossibly high standards set by no-name experts and handed down from on high.
We need to ease the squeeze. Perhaps it is time to slow down and reflect on all that is going well, all that we do to make the world a better place and all of the blessings we have in our lives. Maybe we can reach out a little more and criticize a little less. Right now, I think we need to be gentle with each other, and with ourselves. At least until the planets get realigned or this election cycle comes to an end…whatever comes first!