A LESSON ABOUT STRESS

I don't get stressed about things that other people might.  I am one cool cucumber when it comes to planning large events, speaking in front of people or leading the troops to an end goal.


(Yes, I DO get stressed about birds, but we've already talked about that!)


What I do let get under my skin are things like packing, visas, my childrens' education and the mental well-being and health of this family.


I cannot explain to you what my insides feel like when I have a looming travel schedule ahead of us.  When the responsibility falls on our shoulders for in-flight entertainment, packing so that we weigh-in ok, have what we need for a fresh change of clothes, extra shoes, and any "just-in-case" items, falls heavy on my mind.

The effort it took to happily and with a smile, oversee the kiddos' schoolwork while we were away from Delhi was a massive undertaking.  I tried to act like it was all just part of life and simply another day of parenting, but boy ... it was NOT easy.


The looming pressure of knowing that Terran had to really rock his assignments and studying while thousands of miles away from his teachers and classrooms was difficult, and made even more frustrating because he lost self-motivation about two days into the situation.  


Mia asking regularly "Mama, can we find some friends today?" and Tony asking "Can't we just go back home?" tore at me and made me want to wish away each passing day.


Our family of five was in a hotel room (granted, it was a SPACIOUS room, by normal standards) for way too long. Amazingly, we lasted almost exactly FIVE weeks before we snapped at each other.

The Husb will agree with me, and nod his head furiously when I say that I don't handle stress well.  I do not deal with situations well when I have no control and no say.  


This recent experience of being state-side has definitely started to work on my normal reactions bit ... and has been slowly teaching me the following ::


1.  It is ok to not have control over a situation.  It doesn't mean that you haven't done your best research, or your normal preparation for what lies ahead.  It *just* means YOU are not in control.  That's all.  It's not a conspiracy and no one is out to get you.  You just don't have control.  (This one plays on auto-repeat in my head!)


2.  It is also ok to appear lethargic or non-committal to those around you.  If there is truly nothing that can be done, it is a WASTE of time to get all worked up about something you can't control anyway.  "It is what it is" is a phrase I have said WAY too many times over the past two months!

3.  When you are left with nothing remaining on your to-do list, because the last bits of a puzzle lie with someone ELSE, work on a project. It does no good to obsess over whether an email has arrived yet with "the good news" and it sure doesn't do any good to harp on that "someone else".  Just throw yourself into a project!  Use your ridiculous amount of energy on something productive.


4.  Do not place blame or inappropriately direct your frustration towards your family members, or those you love.  It does no good.  


5.  If all else fails, go shopping.


Seriously though, I said way back when we started this journey that I was excited to see what I would become at the end of this road, and how this experience would change me.  I hoped then that it would be for the better.


As long as I can accept the lessons that life is throwing my way, and learn from them ... truly learn from them, I can say with certainty that this IS for the better.















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