Of All the Hard Things, This is the Hardest

For the last many months, I have been trying to focus my energies on being a curious observer instead of an emotional reactor. Such is not easy with a natural inclination toward activism and a daily deluge of calls to “do something.”

Do something, anything. Don’t let this terrible event happen. Tell this powerholder that you want to see a particular result.

Every day, we are invited to fill in the blanks with new calamities and new goals. If we partake, we may feel rewarded (a/k/a vindicated) for our participation. Then the next day, depending on which set of talking heads is providing the day-after assessment, the efforts were either wildly successful or woefully ineffective.

But don’t worry, because the call will come again. Do something, anything.

All this stress, anxiety, and impotence has left me tired.

I have been saving this quote for a moment just like this:

“The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.” ~ Sylvia Plath

A real carpe diem sort of notion set down by a skilled writer who left this world all too soon for those who loved her, but at a perfect-for-her time.

So after learning of yet another calamity, one which I advocated against, I decided to turn away from my burgeoning emotional reaction and instead employ my recently cultivated skills of curious observation.

I went outside and played in the snow with my children.

Image result for playing in the snow

While I try to protect them from learning of the ongoing series of calamities, especially those which I seem unable to shield them from, they know. But if we’re outside sledding and eating snow from mittened hands, at least for that brief time we are living “richly in the present.”

Do I regret the past? Daily.

Do I fear the future? I do.

But to what end?

I have little to no control over anything that occurs on our planet, leaving me stressed, anxious, and impotent, which is curious considering I was never appointed to have such control. My reflection is not about abandoning those values that are thoughtful, progressive, or compassionate, rather my reflection is about knowing that my reluctance to don battle gear every morning is not a failure on my part.

Living richly in the present can allow me to believe, if only for an hour, that playing in the snow was the very best thing I could have done in that time frame. For surely, my concentration on those children–those very same ones who will inherit this world–meant more than leaving a message for some powerbroker about some issue in some office far away.

Go play, even if it’s for a fraction of your life.

11 thoughts on “Of All the Hard Things, This is the Hardest

  1. Well said. There have been many moments lately when I just want to collapse in a heap of panic, but surely that will do no one any good. So I just keep on keeping on, keep writing what I write, plan Lilly’s birthday, do the laundry, eat chocolate. Control what I can control, and hope for the best for the rest. And play in the snow, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh… Pretty sure you expressed at least half of the population’s feelings ~ yes, play in the snow, whatever it takes to drown the fears for a moment in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jenna,
    Just discovered your blog by chance a few seconds ago. Thanks for expressing in such a crisp way some predicaments of being a parent today: how to take it all in oneself, everyday. Swallow it and woman up… How to protect the children without sugarcoating things, because, no matter what we do, they’ll eventually have to face the world outside at some point and unless you’re willing to live in a cave or in a house somewhere in Lie lie Land where the only sounds that ever come out of any radio, tv or computer is marshmallow music and non-news, they’ll hear at some point about tons of dire straits and dark prospects…
    Let’s play and enjoy,
    Carpe Diem, before the angst covers everything


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