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Important to have time to leave life's challenges behind
The last Saturday of summer was a magnificent day. Uncharacteristically, I was out of town for the weekend. I don’t travel much, so when I go even the shortest distance, it’s always an adventure for me. The energy I gather keeps me going the rest of the year.
All too often we sit at home and turn on the TV and let it guide us through our down time. We sit mindlessly staring at the screen watching millionaires throw footballs, shoot pucks or hit baseballs. We watch reality shows that are so scripted that the actors are as far from reality as they can be. But it is difficult to turn off the power button and get off your butt.
So it was refreshing to leave my laptop at home and my cellphone in the truck for a few days. It only took a few hours for the anxiety to leave and accept the fact that the rest of the world could probably figure things out for themselves for a short term.
We become slaves to our egos and too often we have set ourselves up to take on problems that are not ours and we feel we are the indispensible problem solvers in other people’s lives.
My generation has been described as the sandwich generation, the group looking after parents and children, or even grandchildren. I don’t think that’s so new. I remember my mom worrying about her mother who lived in another province, while she was raising a family here. Sure, Grandma wasn’t living in our basement and I don’t think we gave her a lot of financial support, but the concern and worry and the lying awake at night was still there. But it was never considered a burden.
Reading an article on enabling, the author made a great point. If family members or friends backed their car into your driveway, opened the trunk and dumped all their garbage, waved and drove off, you would be upset that you had to clean it up. But if you did it, they would be back again with more garbage for you to look after.
His point is that we let people dump on us all the time and then we get mad at them when we’re left with their mess to clean up. The solution is to tell them: “We all have garbage, you look after your own and I’ll look after mine.”
If we are not good swimmers, we shouldn’t be jumping into raging waters trying to save others headed downstream to their own fatal waterfall. Eventually, they will become better swimmers. They will figure it out without us.
The trail I was on was quiet with only the sound of leaves fluttering down, uninterrupted by cellphones or text message alerts. As I rounded a corner into a clearing I stopped in the warm sunshine, knowing there were not too many more days like this ahead. Following a path to the point, I found a young boy fishing with his dad and we watched a large salmon flop on the sand and eventually flip his way back into the river.
In the evening the crackle of the campfire punctuated the easy conversation about campfires from other days long past, pushing away any thoughts of busy days ahead.
When summer flutters down from the trees, you should take time to watch the season change. At least that’s what McGregor says.