Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Spend Too Much Time on Small Problems

My friend, Margot and I were chatting this weekend.

Like most women, we covered relationships and parenting in a few minutes.  Then the conversation turned to work.

As I listened to Margot recount a political episode with her boss in Denver, something caught my ear.
"You know.  I'm tired of spending so much time on small problems."  
Listening to NPR tonight, I was moved by stories of single mothers in Redding, PA.  (Stay with me here.  This post will make sense.)  Apparently, the poverty rate in Redding is 40 percent!

I'm not usually one for statistics as a storytelling device.  (It's hard to wrap your head around numbers.)  But even I can tell that living in a community where 4 out of every 10 people are out of work or underemployed is NOT good!

The mothers that they profiled REALLY are struggling.  Poverty on that scale, which equals not being able to put food on the table, is a BIG problem.

The same thing CANNOT be said of most of our mundane, middle class, messes.

To be clear, I'm not channeling your mother. ("There are children starving in China!  Eat your peas and stop crying!")

However, I AM saying that while we ALL struggle it's important to remember that some people have it MUCH worse.

In other words, as another dear friend said recently,
"Yes, I can believe that you have 348 emails in your inbox.  But isn't it wonderful to be employed!"
She's right.

Suffer.  Go ahead.  Feel the weight and burden of your life.  (Really.)  It will make you more humble and compassionate.

At the same time, recognize that - in context - most problems are smaller than they feel.  And you can let go. 




dakchin said...

Nice one, Jocelyn. Perspective is a great thing to hang on to.

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