By John Matonich
No matter who you are or what you do, there are times when I am sure you feel overwhelmed. It could be work or family or chores or a dozen other things. The most important part of these times is how you react to that feeling. Your reaction will certainly set the tone. I think one of the most important lessons you can take away from these feelings is not to get overwhelmed by things you can’t control.
I remember as a young lad watching my dad pace back and forth in our kitchen waiting for the city snowplow to come by and clean our street after a storm. Dad didn’t feel it was productive to shovel until the plow went by. It became a little of a running joke in our house that whenever anyone was stressed, someone else would ask if the stressed family member was waiting for the snow plow. I don’t think Dad appreciated that, but it did point out that sometimes we have to simply roll with it instead of getting an ulcer.
I was having a hard time sleeping the other night. I had some things on my mind and wasn’t able to shake them off. I knew my tossing and turning wasn’t helping my bride get her sleep, so I got up and headed to the living room. I learned a long time ago that a glass of white milk has always helped me relax and get beyond whatever BS was keeping me awake. I took out the biggest glass I could find and helped myself to nature’s natural sedative.
I curled up on the couch and turned on the tube to find out a movie I hadn’t seen in a while was about to start. It was about a music group in the ’60’s who had a one hit wonder and all the things they went through for the two or three months they were famous. I always liked that movie because the music appealed to me and the storyline was easy to follow. It was a great choice for that time of the night.
A few minutes into the movie, one of our dogs jumped up on the couch and joined me. She got the benefit of a lot of petting as well as me quietly singing to her a couple of times. The next thing you know the milk was gone, the movie was over and I was nodding off not remembering any of what was bothering me earlier.
That was a good escape and it worked well. When the weather is good, I also enjoy taking a ride in the woods and watching for wildlife. Lots of good lessons to learn and it takes my mind off other things. Physical activity also works, so chopping firewood gives two benefits. I keep the wood pile full and find a good distraction to clear the mind. If the weather is bad, I enjoy reading or doing crossword puzzles. It really makes you concentrate and I am told that crossword puzzles are a good preventative Alzheimer’s medicine. Not sure it’s true, but I like doing them anyway.
I read a quote once that said, “Rule #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff and Rule #2: It’s all small stuff.” I try to remember that, even though it doesn’t always work. It’s probably a little better than wondering when the snowplow will be by.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …