Americans have ‘grim and bear it’ mentality


I recently read an article that said a great majority of Americans do not feel supported or nurtured. This has been an issue for years. It is being recognized now just because more and more individuals are suffering mental and physical problems as a result.

All one has to do is sit in a public place and watch the faces of passers-by. It is rare to see people smiling or sharing laughter unless they are children or young teens. Instead of having the “grin and bear it” mentality, most people seem to be models for “grim and bear it.”

Why are so many of us feeling as if we are going about our day as if no one cares? Sure, there are random texts, and cellphones chirp or sing some cheery song to alert us that someone is trying to connect.

Perhaps it’s my age, but nothing feels the same as sitting across from someone and having a conversation. Nothing takes the place of someone greeting you at the door when you come home and asking how your day went. And nothing takes the place of being able to relax without the cacophony of today’s technology assaulting you constantly.

The naysayers to all of the above will counter with: “You just don’t get it. This is called progress.” Well, progress might just be creating regression. I embrace technology, but I do not wish to treat it as a god-like figure that must be venerated daily.

I have watched individuals have fits trying to find their ringing cellphones. If they miss the call, they frantically try to reach the caller. You’d think they’d been called to perform major surgery on a trauma patient.

Texting is akin to an addiction for some people. They hold their phones throughout the day, as though the phones were keeping their hearts pumping.

The newest advance is going to be the ability to wear your technology, i.e. Google glasses and smart watches. Imagine the kick you’ll get as the sounds cascade through your body with each ping. No more looking for a lost phone, since “Tag, you’re it!” My fear is that we will slowly descend into an increasingly robotic state. Will we forget how to have deep conversations and lose the ability to listen without the distractions that are becoming so pervasive? Will we forget how to embrace silence or be with a friend or loved one without having to look down at our phones to see who else might be interested in us? I we do, the only support we might get is “tech support.”

Change, the only constant we have


   Most of us become accustomed to the patterns in our lives. We wake up and face the day in various ways, feeling comfort in our daily rituals. My partner and I chat for awhile and our cat Mr. Boo invariably jumps on the bed between us and always bumps our heads as a way to say “good morning”. He then lays down and watches us till we get up. When my partner Kenny goes in the kitchen to get our coffee he dashes after him anticipating his breakfast.

   I always have my cup of coffee in my favorite chair overlooking a small fish pond. I embrace the day slowly when I can without any need to discover what the media has to offer in the way of doom and gloom. Kenny goes down to his man cave to listen to his sports show and as I sip my coffee, I can hear Boo chomping on his kibble. This has been the scenario for quite some time until this past week.

   Mr. Boo had been exhibiting some weight loss and lethargy. I took him to a Vet weeks ago and he was given an appetite enhancement and some probiotic powder to spread on his food. Things seemed to be looking up. The rituals stayed the same. Life was good. Then three days ago he stopped eating and drinking. Another Vet visit, and lots of tests, which have led to hospitalization and the possibility of sending Boo to his final resting place. The doctors are exceedingly compassionate and dedicated to their patients. However, they really can’t tell you when “enough is enough”.

   At one time my feline friend was a big white and black cat with long hair. He always made me feel as if he was of royal stock. He had a jaunty walk, with a tail that was always straight up in the air. He never sat on my lap preferring to lay next to me instead. After all, he was the king. The only time he deferred to me, was when I was recuperating from my knee replacement. I fell asleep in my recliner, only to awaken to find him splayed across my chest. We looked at each other and I realized that he had decided to gift me with himself to possibly enhance my healing.

   Over and over as I journey through this life I am given lessons on the challenges of not being attached to how we perceive life “should be”. It is not an easy lesson, since it is easier and more comfortable to be deluded into thinking everything will stay the same. Perhaps, the gift impermanence can teach us is to relish every moment with those we love and cherish.