Sometimes thumbing your nose to quiet desperation means helping someone else

My journey toward not living a QD life started very selfishly. The anxiety and focus of my life had me so unhappy I had to do something or implode. Then there are the times when feeling sorry for yourself or trying to break out takes a back seat to helping friends or loved ones. Two instances I can think of that helped me gain a better foothold on life were when a friend had a heart attack and my son struggled with football injuries. My friend didn’t have a massive heart issue but after having a stint surgery needed someone to help him get active again. I was running a decent distance each day but he wasn’t active in that manner at all. I put my running on hold and came to his house daily to go for a walk, and just talk. The fitness aspect was small for me but I wanted to provide the support of a friend.

The other is that my son had a football injury that both tore up his shoulder but worse he suffered a torn retina. Also being a baseball player the eyes are ultimately important to depth perception. After three surgeries and a major setback I just wish I could take that burden off of him. It’s one of those moments that is frustrating as a parent as I’d gladly give the sight up in one of my eyes so that he could have it. My little world problems go away when trying to support a loved one whether it’s a friend or our own child. It’s a practice of learning perspective. If I don’t get that reporting off to my boss in time will that really kill me? He probably doesn’t even notice but I might beat myself up over it for days.

Sometimes being there for a friend makes our own problems take a back seat.

Sometimes being there for a friend makes our own problems take a back seat.

Put your mask on first before attempting to assist others

Most of us have flown and heard the speech about making sure that in case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. I have sometimes struggled with this concept in life but at one point realized that if I don’t take care of myself I can’t take care of those who count on me.

This manifested itself after building a career and family without paying attention to my health both in a physical way as well as mental/spiritual. I’d gained weight, struggled with stress, and began to fall down that trap of self medicating through food or drink. I realized I needed to step back and figure out what I might be missing to shake off the stress, deal with it head on, and be the happy and strong person my family and employer needed. Yes, I threw in “employer” as we often blame work for our ills but quite often it’s a circular problem of being unhappy and taking it to work. This makes being effective at work a challenge which then causes stress from poor performance which then again causes us to sink deeper. I knew I needed to go back to something that would enhance my life. Since I used to ride and race bikes when I was younger I got a new bike and started riding. This was the beginning of constant pursuit of personal athletic goals that ranged from riding centuries (100 miles rides), doing triathlons, and even running trail ultra marathons.

Good time for an oxygen mask

For me, putting on my own mask was getting moving and finding adventure. It was one of the things that sparked the “no quiet desperation!” in my life. It can be a long process that I’m still working hard on as life continues to throw me challenges. Sometimes I find myself in quiet desperation still and have to make sure I pick the mask that has oxygen and not mustard gas. It’s more apparent that you think…..