After looking at me I’m getting used to hearing folks say, “you seem fine to me.” I know I’m in a complicated situation for I am able to do much that other brain injury survivors aren’t able to do yet hidden challenges get in the way. I can’t handle the busy life that seems to be the norm for everyone in our culture. When I do too many things, I become confused. I have to “rest my brain” which makes scheduling things back-to-back, difficult and in some cases, impossible.
However I can still accomplish quite a bit; it’s just a matter of balance and accepting that what I can do now is different from before. Our culture views “busyness” as the norm but it doesn’t have to be this way. My own insecurities sometimes tempt me into believing that everyone else is “better” than me because I’m not as “busy” as they seem to be.
One of my Facebook friends recently posted a comic written by Bill Watterson – the artist who brought the world Calvin and Hobbes. You may remember Watterson stopped drawing the comic in order to pursue other things. Here it is: : http://imgur.com/r/pics/66DxiHX – copy it to your browser. I hope you’ll take the time to look at it for it really is extraordinary. One panel contains the quote, “Ambition is only understood if it’s a rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success.” We or shall I say I, do seem to have some imaginary ladder of success.
Here is a popular quotation by the Dali Lama. In my case, it is true. I’m 52 years old and I’ve already lived over half my life. I don’t want to be so worried about the future that I don’t enjoy each day now. Erik Kain in an article written in 2011 for Forbes magazine believes the Dalai Lama is wrong. http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/12/the-dalai-lama-is-wrong/2/ He thinks the Dalai Lama is speaking from a place of enormous privilege about a world he cannot even fathom.
While I understand his point and know that many, many people have to work hard in jobs they don’t like, just to support themselves and their families, many Americans are working much harder than necessary. Do we really need three television sets, the best smart phone imaginable, expensive food and vacations? Do we really need a whole closet full of clothes and the most expensive car? I know that raising children is extremely expensive and our cultural norms do not make this any easier but I fear we spend too much time trying to get the best of everything when we need to be figuring out how to work a little less.
Do you feel overextended and see no way out? In today’s harsh job market, do you feel as if you have no choice but to work so hard? If you have a brain injury, do you feel like the world is passing you by? How do you handle the busyness of our society? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section.