Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Critical Mass

   No matter how regimented we are in our daily routine, there comes a time when life puts the screws to us...and we feel every turn. Nobody is immune to the unpredictability of living...nor the daily grind of what makes us tick. It’s really a wonder why more of us don’t flip that switch buried deep inside. Everyone is capable of achieving critical mass and you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re immune or above it all. Sometimes...all it takes is the acknowledgement that a vacation is needed, then the fortitude to follow through and just take time away from it all.

   Of course, the assumption that everyone is able to take a vacation is also wishful thinking. Worse than that, somebody that can take a vacation...but the bruises of life would make it a meaningless endeavor. I love to take vacations, even though I’ve haven’t had too many in my life, I enjoyed nearly every one I took. I learned that occasionally being able to get away from it all can be very useful in recharging the emotional batteries. I also learned that serious life problems don’t disappear or go away just because you do. do we avoid critical mass?

   People will look at those that go critical as being mentally unbalanced from the beginning. While this may be true, I’m not convinced everyone that has a mental implosion was always mentally unfit and headed for one. I believe there are some that just weren’t equipped or prepared for that one moment...or series of unfortunate events, that pushed them to a place we are all capable of going. Let me tell you right now...if you are even entertaining the idea that you are some superhuman rock that can’t be thus effected, you are fooling yourself in the worst way.

   You are looking at the extreme cases and swearing that it could never be you. It may never be. That lady you cut off in traffic that had a meltdown right after...or that man in line at the bank that kept looking at his watch until he finally began shouting expletives about the situation...thought the same thing. It could never be them. As you look at them and judge (it’s hypocritical, but very human) you should remember that you know nothing about their life.

   You have no idea that that crazy lady in the car having a meltdown because you decided to change lanes has just lost her husband and children in recent accident. You have no idea that the man shouting in line has just lost his home and now has no way to take care of his elderly parents. You have no idea the circumstances or tragedy of another person’s life that led them to behave in a way you are swearing could never happen to you. Be careful in your doesn’t discriminate if you are among the living...and has many ways of bringing anyone to critical mass.

   I know what you’re thinking. No...I really don’t, but I’ll tell you what I think. I think we should all cut each other some slack while we all navigate the roller coaster of life. There’s just no telling who is going to puke...and who will be caught in the splatter (too graphic...but metaphorically accurate). So with all this left to chance, what are we to do to avoid critical mass?

   I’ve asked that question twice now, in hopes that you the reader are taking the time to answer it. I don’t think there is a simple answer...but a series of them reinforced by a philosophy that it can happen to anyone. You may not grab a gun and make the eleven o’clock news...but you might act way outside what anyone that knows you considers “normal.”

   Take a vacation (if you’re able). Take a break every now and then and find some quiet time. Learn to meditate. Exercise to relieve stress. Talk to someone about what’s bothering you (a family member, a friend, a stranger, a professional counselor). Talk to God (pray...although this should probably be first, this has a way of becoming the last resort). Do...whatever works for you (excluding drugs, excessive alcohol, and illegal activity) to stay positive, keep moving forward and helps you avoid your version of critical mass.

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