Resilience and Upheaval
Since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with two different parts of tragedy, or should I say an upheaval in life – one is the instant BEFORE something life altering happens…and then the second obsession is why some people are incredibly resilient and others…well… aren’t.
When I volunteered at a pediatric cancer hospital, I would marvel at the parents who were literally facing their worst nightmares, and somehow managing to continue on…with work…with raising their other children…with life. And then I would encounter parents who were clearly and understandably falling apart at the seams – and I would wonder what dictated the difference in their response to such unimaginable pain and difficulty? Was it their support system? Their spouse? Their sister? Or best friend? The Mom and Dad? Or a really supportive and understanding work environment? Are you hard wired to be resilient? Or is it like happiness, where most studies indicate that you can train yourself to be happier?
When I would play with their kids, secretly hoping to relieve the parents just long enough that they can feel normal for even a second, I would also wonder – “What were they thinking about the moment before the way they viewed life changed forever? Were they annoyed that there were dirty dishes in the sink or that they stepped on a Lego for the gagilienth time? Or were they complaining about their catty coworker, or how much their husband’s snoring really pissed them off? I wonder if they long for that moment back? That moment just before everything changed.”
Maybe my fixation with this is tied to my time in news, where we would see the slow-motion home videos played as the anchor track described how life looked before the unthinkable happened…and then inevitably, that slow dip to black, and then POW – nothing looks the same again..
Or maybe I am just weird.
Either way, I know my obsession with resilience has only strengthened since I had Ellie…partially because I had to dig down…waaaaaaaay down…to get through some days, and now that I am on the other side of the shitstorm…I feel stronger, better adjusted and more committed to my priorities…and, well, pretty grateful for everything that happened, good, bad and ugly. And also because when I think about the things characteristics and qualities I want to pass on to Ellie, resilience is definitely in the top 3 – and I wonder how you actually do that?
How do you help build a human being that gets back up when life knocks them down, that focuses on the solutions, instead of obsessing over the problem, that keeps on keeping on?
Makes total sense right? But I am still a little baffled as to how I instill this in my 2-year-old (who btw, cries when I don’t take her Popsicle out of the wrapper in the correct way – which is the stick part first – in case you were curious) – other than by example.
Seriously – any insight or advice is totally welcome???