Month: April 2020

Here’s the thing…”You are an essential worker.You aren’t better than everyone else.”

The words “essential workers” are beginning to take on an entitled mentality. Recently, on a messaging board , someone responded to a post (after venting about how important they are) with the following statement “This “Stay at home” order is limited for us as we are very busy with working as essential workers…”. Yes, I read this as “how dare you mention anything we are doing right now! Don’t you know how important we are because we are essential workers?!”. Let’s take a moment here to make something very clear….. you are an essential worker NOT an essential person. No one and I repeat NO ONE, is above anyone else. We are now about four sentences into this article so this is the point where some will get upset, begin yelling and take to furiously typing comments to me about the ridiculousness of my opinion. So, while they take to working on that, I will explain to everyone else who is continuing to read. 

Everyone in this world has a role and a purpose. No one is spared in these two elements of the human race. We are all in this world together and we all have a part in this “made for tv movie” that we call, life. As with all things in life some parts are more appealing, more fun, more luxurious; while others are harder, behind the scenes, unappealing and more devastating.  However; none of these parts we are given to play make us a better person because we are all made of the same elements that have simply been put together in different formats. These different formats do not make us better than the next person, they only make us different from one another. Let me stop here a minute to clarify something for everyone. This word “different” is not a four letter word. It is a a word that adequately describes the human race. It is ok to be different, hell it should be celebrated. Without differences we would be boring under achievers who never strive for anything outside of our comfort zones (which our comfort zones would all be the same because we would all be the same…hold on while I stifle my yawn of what that world would look like). Can we all stop being petulant children and yelling at one another for using that word now?  Great, thanks, lets move on. 

These different formats that we are made up of create our personalities, our characters and who we truly are. What they do not do, is create what we do for a living. This is where we seem to have taken a wrong turn and misinformed ourselves. Our jobs come to us in a variety of ways. Whether it be out of surviving, an admiration for what someone did before us,  a desire to make the world a better place or simply because another option didn’t present itself. Whatever the case may be, what we do for a living does not define who we are as a person. It is a PART of who we are, it is not the WHOLE of who we are. We do our jobs because of four very fundamental reasons. One; it provides for monetary survival and comfort. Two; it keeps us mentally functioning in a different capacity. Three; it is a physical task that ensures we have something to do/or to go to every day. Four; it is something that makes us feel better about ourselves. That is it, this is why we work every day, day in and day out. None of these reasons some how transform us into being above everyone else. Making more money, saving more lives or making the world a better place is a benefit of our job, it is not an entitlement that some show elevates us as better than others. I’ll repeat it one more time; giving back to others is a wonderful feeling, having money to survive without scraping by is amazing and saving lives is always going to be a rush, but ….. 

It. Does. Not. Make. You. Better. Than. Someone. Else.   

You may have better opportunities, better people around you, better life choices, better upbringings, better neighborhoods, better educations and better relationships that give you a better or more comfortable life. How great for you! Enjoy it, revel in it but stop thinking it somehow entitles you to be above everyone else. The current world we live in is being defined as essential and non essential workers. Ever notice that no one says “they are an essential person” they always say “they are an essential worker”? This is because there is a current need to categorize jobs to ensure that the core needs of our society can be met by the minimal amount of workers needed to meet it. It is a categorical way of working through any given crisis…that is it, nothing. more. It is not a new way to define that you are better than someone else or that you are above the law in a way that no one else is. Of all the times in history, this is not the time to assert yourself over others. This is the time to join in with the rest of society in the ideal of “you do your part, I’ll do mine and together we will get through this”. Dividing ourselves and categorizing ourselves as more important than others is only going to make getting through this crisis harder. The last thing we need right now is for the world to be harder, we are all barely holding on as it is. So, I ask you…

Can we live by grace, not entitlement? 

So, I was thinking … stay home, save lives, lose our minds. The surprising mental clarity that proved me wrong.

Easter Sunday was by far one of the best days that I have experienced in a while. I cannot believe I am saying this during the days of lockdowns and a global pandemic (clearly I am losing my mind…).Not only have has life been flipped completely upside down but our mental state of minds have been placed on some kind of Alice And Wonderland never ending roller coaster. So, to have a good day during all of this can be considered nothing short of a miracle (or a mental break down…you decide). Regardless, this led me to wonder, why? Why was this day so great? Why was I feeling so good about life, even though I hadn’t even had anything to drink yet?

In the true fashion that is me, I analyzed and analyzed and yes, analyzed again. I have this tendency that when things are going well, I must obsess over the why and how. It’s all in a vein attempt to duplicate whatever I did so that I can avoid ever having a bad day again, makes complete sense, right? Totally… but I digress. Usually this behavior leads me absolutely no where, while (bonus!) also allowing me to miss out on the good thats going on. What a completely healthy way to operate, you might be thinking to yourself but stick with me here. On this particular occasion my obsessing actually gave me a viable answer that damn near knocked me over.

I was. Simply. In. The. Moment. Let me repeat that for you, my analyzing and obsessing over my behavior led me to realize that I was enjoying my day because I was in the moment. Can you feel the irony here? People often speak to “being in the moment” and I always thought it was absurd because; of course we are in the moment, we are THERE. I have since realized I can truly be an idiot. We are rarely THERE in our lives. We are physically there, in a place, at a given time. But we are rarely actually there, giving our life the undivided attention it deserves. On this Easter Sunday (pandemic edition), something inside my brain clicked off and decided “let’s actually go all in with our life today, ok?”. Everything I did, listened to and watched had my full and undivided attention. Even interruptions garnered all of my attention. I took them in stride, fully stood within them and never once had the same conversation with myself that goes something like “for the love of all that is holy why must you interrupt me when I literally just sat down to have 5 minutes of alone time?!!”.

Even more amazing was the moment I found myself in the kitchen setting out to cook the annual Easter feast for my family (there were only three of us but that wasn’t going to stop me)and I found myself looking forward to the task. Let me step back here a moment to say I am not one that lives for the joy of cooking. I am more of a, pour a glass of wine for the cook (and myself) while providing witty banter and conversation as the meal is prepared, kind of person. Yet, on this occasion there was no feeling of being chained to the kitchen or visions of relaxing in the sunroom with the cool wind blowing through the windows while I binge watched a great show. No. Instead I thought of what I was cooking, what was the next step, is there a better day to do this, what would Julia Child do?? How did Julia Child make everything seem so easy? I love that movie Julie & Julia and oh man I love Stanley Tucci. Ok, so my mind does tend to wander but at least I was still on subject. My point (yes I have one) is that even during a task that is not my favorite thing to do, I was there. I was fully present in the moment of what I was doing and the outcome was unbelievable. I actually felt calm, at ease and as though I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing at exactly that moment. Mind Blown.

After that I realized that this… this state of being is one of the big lessons that we should be taking away from this global pandemic. Instead of focusing on how things were, lets focus on how they are and how we truly want them to be when this crisis has calmed. We mustn’t return to running through our lives checking everything off on a never ending to do list. We need to heed this lesson and be present in the life we are living no matter how mundane they might be. In doing this we will prioritize our lives and even better; our mental well being. Now go… Be present in your life because it’s one thats truly worth living.

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