The Useful Duck!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Holidays in General-Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas, Weddings, Family Picnics...

Not everyone is happy.
Thanksgiving time is a time when we think about the things we are thankful for. It is therapeutic to look to God as the giver of all things good and the one who helps us deal with all things bad.
Some people have a hard time accepting this rationalization.
There are different forms of denial. Some folks become atheists. I think I have more respect for those who say they just don't know... As it seems to me that atheists have to much to prove... Haven't made up my mind on that one.
But I digress!
Some people shoot themselves, some people become fanatics, some folks practice self medication.
I attempt to put one foot in front of the other. Get out of bed in the morning. When Sadie and I say our prayers we have three parts to our prayer. Something to happy for and/or thank God for, someone who needs help or God's blessing, and something we need help with or are worried about. I don't think it matters if you believe in God or not to understand the point. I think keeping those ideas in your head helps you cope with life.
I remember one holiday season a number of years ago. I was setting in a pickup with a fellow farmer and he told me why he doesn't own a gun. He was afraid that he would use it--on himself.
I think those of us who are not as happy as we should be, get kind of put down during holiday seasons. If I could do something about it I would. In fact I try. I want to be happy, no one wants to be unhappy, do they? I mean it was kind of fun at first, angst and all that but, it is really old after twenty some years.  I try different things, Vitamin D is my latest. I should spend more time reading my Bible, that works for many, many people.
But, I don't really want to discuss my personal issues. I was thinking about my friend and his gun comment. I wonder if those who are more honest kind of fall through the cracks. They most likely would not leave a note and don't really want to make anyone else feel bad, they just want it to be over.
I guess there is no way to discuss an issue like this other than to bring your own experiences into it. I don't allow myself to think about it. I have a child who didn't ask to be born. I have a responsibility to bring her up to the best of my ability. How ever depressed I might be would not absolve me of that duty. Even if it were to look accidental it would still be a trauma for the kid. You can't even allow the thought in your head.
But, after talking to my friend I gave the whole issue some thought. I wish I would have thought it out enough to tell him something other than, "are you absolutely sure if you do that you would not go straight to perdition?" and "who would I have to be depressed with."
The thing is, I don't want to be dead, I don't want life to be over, there are many things in life that are enjoyable, I just want to be happy. How would shooting yourself make you happy? If you disbelieve in God to the point where you would kill yourself, how do you know for sure that the last millisecond of your life would not be your eternity. Do I want my eternity to be the thought, "oops, that wasn't a good idea,' or "ouch, that really hurt?"
I just wish you would push a reset button somewhere and try it again.
But, on the other hand, everyday is a new day. People can and do change their lives.
My life is not bad. The question of if I am wildly happy or not seems to have nothing to do with my quality of life, rather it has everything to do with my interpretation of my life.
We just had my wife's family here for Thanksgiving. I don't think my lovely and gracious wife reads my blog so I will be honest. It is not that I dislike anyone. It is just hard to be the host.
It was painful for me. Even though everyone is quite nice.
Relatives arrived the day before and straightaway invaded my personal space. I knew this would happen so I had an escape plan. I went and spread fertilizer Thanksgiving morning. While spreading fertilizer I tried to think of things to say to each person in my wife's family. It was not my intention to be ungracious, what do you do? Should I have a sign in my front yard stating that I am a strange and reclusive person? Would that even be true?
So I envisioned discussions that did not involve any of my obsessions, collecting 16mm films, no-till planting, farming, people who owe me money, or my lack of success as a farmer. Instead I rehearsed topics which involved other people's interests.
I was not all that successful. I played with Sadie. I tried to look busy getting chairs and tables. I didn't interact with the younger set all that well. They used to really like me as little kids. I don't know what to talk about now. So, I tried to appear involved. I have no idea what they thought...
Which brings me back to the topic of my first paragraph. Not everyone is happy, especially during the holiday season. Should you fall into that group of people I have some suggestions.
1. You can be thankful for many things and still not be happy. This is ok. This does not mean you are ungrateful at all. It just means that somehow you are not happy. Hopefully there will come a point in time when you figure out why and are able to change it, but, being thankful doesn't mean you have to be happy.
2. People will invade your personal space. Accept this and have a backup plan to help yourself cope. Denying that people bug you will not make them bug you less, rather it just means that you are unprepared.
3. Just because people annoy you doesn't mean you have to dislike them. It just means you are easily annoyed. You need to develop a plan to deal with the annoyance. My backup plan is playing with Sadie. I usually try to find children to play with. This seems to always be a good plan. Children annoy many so-called normal people. I find most children to be good company.
4. Other people do not understand they are violating your personal space. Your personal space is an invisible boundary. Even if you try to define that boundary people may not understand. My best defense is to acknowledge the space is being violated, understand why and how, and then rationalize it to the point that I can deal with it with a certain level of comfort. I try to understand why people annoy me, I to understand if that is a fair assessment or not, and I do what I can to avoid situations where I will feel compelled to express my feelings. I understand that by me expressing myself, they will not understand me or suddenly want to make me feel better, instead they will attempt to justify themselves and give themselves validity at the expense of my sense of self worth.
In other words, pick your battles and win them....
5. Life is most likely a bitter struggle. Find happiness when you can and appreciate it. Realize that people my annoy you now, but they also have good points, one day they will no longer be here. Did you make the most of the good times and minimize the bad ones?
6. Just because people annoy you doesn't mean they are bad people or you are a bad person. It just means that at this point in time, they annoy you. That is all it means...
Happy Thanksgiving.
Good luck with your copeing mechanism!

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