Thursday, March 9, 2017

Every Day I'm Juggling

It's a given fact that money doesn't buy happiness.  I think we can all agree on this point.

It's also a given fact that lack of money gets you a deep well of depression and changes your mindset.

I could ramble on and on about this point but I'm not going to.

What about other assets in life...do they buy happiness?

Time?
Possessions?  Hobbies?  Activities?
Friends?  Family? Health?  What about the vague sense of belonging and purpose?  Passion?

Many of these cannot be accounted for in any concrete way but we all know what it feels like when we don't have enough of them.

Last night, I witnessed a few little mental meltdowns with my little war weary tribe.  When it was all said and done, the crux of the problem is poverty...extreme scarcity.  Limited resources with limitless needs and wants.

I'm blaming it all on chronic illness. And me.

Up until a few years ago, I was the shock absorber for things that happened to them from a health standpoint.  I made every bad thing that happened sound like there was an easy fix. "Don't worry, it's nothing."  I would say...so they didn't worry.  They went out to play.  We managed just fine.  They never really had feelings that they were different...or 'other' or sick for that matter.  There were moments when they felt that, but the moments were fleeting and I would have something better to distract them from those discouraging thoughts.

But, they grew up. For the most part, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't really change much.  I think there was wisdom in not allowing them to feel themselves boxed in by their disease. On the other hand, maybe there was a better way?  I thought I was gifting them with resilience; always laughing in the face of adversity.  Pushing through the pain. I even managed to teach them at a very young age how to detach from their feelings.  Dissociate if you will.  Sam is the master of detaching.  It's eerie to watch him prior to a surgery, go somewhere else to hide away from the anxiety and fear.

Now, as young adults, I can't fix it.  I can't laugh it away.  I don't have any distractions left they can buy into, it's just the raw and stinging facts they have to face.  Right now, we are far from resilient. Any of us.  We are poor in spirit...Everyday brings a new set of challenges and problems to face.

For them and for me...There is so much scarcity in our lives.  Health, hobbies, friends, time feeling good, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.

“Being poor, for example, reduces a person’s cognitive capacity more than going one full night without sleep. It is not that the poor have less bandwidth as individuals. Rather, it is that the experience of poverty reduces anyone’s bandwidth.” 
― Sendhil MullainathanScarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

This quote is so true!!  Again, I'm not speaking about money, I'm just talking about everything else that is lacking.  I blame myself for how my kids are feeling right now because I have a bad case of tunnel vision.  I have two concerns in life and two only...get as much work as I can to pay bills and keep my kids alive.  I don't think about anything else.  I can't think about anything else. My mind is literally starving and overwhelmed. This disease process in my kids is relentless and expensive and it's killing us all.  My kids never see me doing anything but taking them to the doctor, handing out medication and working my butt off.  I can't remember the last time we sat down to play a game, watch a movie, eat a bedtime snack, do something fun, do nothing at all!

I don't know how to get off the ride.

"Immediate scarcity looms large, and important things unrelated to it will be neglected. ” 
― Sendhil MullainathanScarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

And now...they are on it with me.

Spencer is just plain stuck.  He has no clue how to move forward in life.  How do you define a life when your are constantly fighting poor health?  How do you plan a tomorrow when today has dropped you to your knees?   Sam is running as fast as he can from making a single decision for his life.  The semester is ending in 4 weeks...does he sign up for another semester of struggle and missed work because he is really sick every 3 weeks?  Does he just find a dead end job and call it good?  Does he go on a mission...but at what cost to his health? Would he even be allowed to go?  His life is cluttered with distractions in an effort to avoid these decisions. And then there is Shelbie...if anyone had a good reason to quit, she does but the scarcity of purpose pushes her to her limits.

I wish I knew how to help my kids.  I wish I wasn't so depleted myself. I have my own complicated issues I'm dealing with but I have three other people and their complicated and unique issues I'm dealing with as well...Scarcity to the power of 4!  I wish I could take the time to break the cycle of just surviving.  Honestly, in the wee hours of the night, my biggest fear is that this is as good as it gets.
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