Stress. How do you handle it?

Well, wow today is Friday. It is another dark and gloomy and rainy day and I am praying my basement stays dry today however, does it really matter since the floor is already torn up from a couple days ago?

Talk about stress! Or me trying to get organized for the big garage sale on Thursday knowing we are heading up to our cabin sometime this weekend so, I will only have 2 days to finish preparing and cleaning out the house for it! Not to mention labeling and pricing and sorting everything! By the way, I am not joking when I say this, I have enough clothes to start my own consignment shop. It is sick.

Or my husband, going through a bunch of junk at work right now that has really nothing to do with him or his company and the stress he is going through.

Stress, we all have it, we all deal with it. It is HOW you deal with it that makes the difference I believe. I think the biggest thing when it comes to stress is do you let it fester inside of you or do you deal with the stressful situation and move on. I guess there is another way, you can completely ignore the stress but, it will come back and bite you in the rear eventually.

I am the type of person that most things just roll off my back and out of sight. Really, I don’t get too stressed out very often. I just figure the next day will be better and somehow, everything will work out in the end. If not, oh well, I tried and there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.

I have seen how stress works in different people. I have watched my mother over the years become a harsh, cynical person without much joy in her life. She is skeptical of pure joy and love. She stresses out about a lot of things and very rarely now truly laughs or relaxes. I have seen first hand her personality change over the years and how when you hold on to stress how it truly can change your outlook on life.

I have also seen my dad with stress. He truly doesn’t get stressed out. He is living life, happy, still smiles and laughs a lot and is happy as a clam for the most part. Yes, things stress him out sometimes but, he doesn’t hold on to that stress, he lets it go and moves on with life.

Here is where I see the major differences in my parents. On one hand, my mother is college educated, married a college educated man. They live an upper middle class lifestyle, drive nice (but not too nice) of cars. They live in a beautiful home that is quite good sized for 2 people(my family could live in it very comfortably!) and my mother is a 3rd Grade teacher and my father(step-father) is in sales. They are for the most part able to do what they would like, although, that is not how my mother would put it.

You can’t say hi to my mother without hearing the words, “this economy”, “we don’t have enough money”, “I wish I could travel more”, “I wish I could add on to my house”. More, more, more but, never happy. Her stress level is extremely high thinking about how she has been wronged over the years and how it all started way back when with her having to help raise 5 brothers. What?! Yes, seriously she has held on to the stress for that many years.

My mother is healthy, she is young, she is only 59 and her husband is happy and healthy and young, 61. Together they have 6 grandchildren and truly should be in the prime of their lives as far as enjoyment and less stress. I think the stress level has actually risen over the past 5-10 years than relaxed. Why?

Now my ‘real’ dad. He is a college dropout, is a true blue collar worker. He has been married(and divorced) 3 times and is currently in a relationship with a woman he has been with for over 10 years. He is truly happy even though he doesn’t have a lot to give financially. He is 63, lives on a farm in Southern Minnesota. He doesn’t own the farm, he helps out the owner and drives a school bus. He is great with our children and is up for just about anything. Lack of money doesn’t or hasn’t really stopped him from traveling(may not be Europe or 5 Star hotels but still travels), he really has been able to do most things he likes. Relationships mean more to him than money. He is in contact with and still talks to most of his family members on down to probably 3rd and 4th cousins. He has a lot of friends and if you ask him how life is, he will laugh a bit and say, “Ya know, pretty good.”

On paper, my mom should be the happy one, life hasn’t been overly difficult(on paper) in well over 20 years and she is miserable. On paper my ‘real’ dad should be the unhappy one, life has really been overwhelming yet, he is happy as a clam.

This is a direct function I believe, on how you handle and deal with stress. If you compartmentalize it and can deal with it, you are the happy one in the later years of life and during life. If you let it fester and can’t let it go, you are the angry and unhappy one.

I am probably somewhere in the middle. I suppose somethings I should probably stress out about more and other things less. We don’t have a lot and while it would be nice I am pretty happy with my life.

So what if I don’t get to live in a big house(maybe someday…maybe not), so what if I don’t ever get to put that big addition on my house, who cares is my ‘fancy’ car is 11 years old, it is still pretty darn fancy and I really like it a lot! Who cares if I can’t keep up with the Jones’ in life? Hey, I live in Richfield…we ARE the Jones’.

In my ‘real’ dad’s eyes, Steve and I are pretty well off, in my mothers eyes, well…..

I don’t know if most people would call this a blessing or not but, I believe I was truly blessed with the parents I got in life. Yes, it hasn’t always seemed like a blessing with those 3 but, I have learned that stressing over stress just isn’t worth it. Most things you have no control over (like who your parents are) but, it is how YOU deal with what you are given in life.

Life will always be ‘unfair’. Someone will always have more, someone will always have less. Very often you will feel alone in your stress and that sucks but, you are the only person who can change you. You can’t change the world, you can’t change your parents(although if you are like me, you certainly can try), you can’t change your family but, you can change YOU.

We live in a fallen world. We live in an imperfect world. This isn’t the ‘good life’. The good life is after this world! So, relax, don’t let this fallen world get you down. This is like your stress test. How do you come out of it in the end?

Blessings to you all!

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