Taking 2020 day by day may be the best way to make a difference.
I spend a tremendous amount of mental energy pre-worrying. I classify pre-worrying as worrying far in advance about things that may or may not happen in the future. The winter holidays during (probably) a pandemic. The upcoming election. The emotional development of our nation’s children. Whether or not people will take a COVID-19 vaccine if and when it becomes available. And so forth. In addition to the pre-worrying, I also have long and very intense imaginary conversations with my loved ones whose opinions differ from mine. Not one of them has ever tried to engage me in one of these conversations in real life, and my brilliantly crafted arguments are utterly useless.
My brain is a really fun place to be lately. Anyone with me here, or am I alone on an island?Someone encouraged me recently, and I hope their words will create a shift in my anxious thoughts.
Focus on the day you’ve been given, the tasks set before you today, complete those tasks and live today well.
Bearing this advice in mind keeps me focused on the present and those things that are not only within my control but, more importantly, are my responsibilities. I don’t intend to stop caring about broader issues, but my goal for the remainder of this no-good, rotten year, is to focus the bulk of my energy on my day and only my day.
Every day, my greatest responsibility and joy is to love my children well. Can I focus on sitting with them, lifting them up, and guiding them instead of agonizing over scenarios across the country that may not even transpire? If I devoted my mental energy to them during the short hours we’re all awake and together, how much more strongly could I connect with them? How much calmer would I be with them?
Every day I have work obligations that deserve energy and attention. Every day I have a duty to provide loving care to my dogs, and every day brings more opportunities to strengthen my relationship with my husband. I have wonderful friends who love me, and the energy spent reciprocating their love through time and words is very well spent. My undistracted presence in each of these areas can create true value in my life and others’.
Every day I have the small but vital task of prepping the coffee for the next morning.
My overactive brain is captivated with worry over other people’s problems, opinions, and matters that are fully out of my control. If I can shift my focus to finishing each day by fulfilling my obligations, loving my people well, and prepping my coffee maker, can I count it as a day well lived and crawl into bed tired but satisfied? I believe so, and in fact, I believe I can make the greatest difference of all in the lives of those who mean most to me, simply by living the day that is set out before me and living it well.
And of course, if that day is November 3, you know I will fulfill my duty to vote.