The Game: Everything Is Fine/No It Isn’t

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It’s 4:05 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022. This is the time my alarm goes off and my brain fires up to play this crazy game of “everything is fine/no it isn’t”.

It seems like we’ve all been playing this game for a while now, doesn’t it?

We go about our daily lives, excited about the holiday weekend, pool parties, days at the beach, remembering to return that library book — and then BAM.

It’s another mass shooting.

It’s the diminishing of women’s rights.

It’s a war.

It’s another surge of the pandemic.

It’s grieving relatives.

It’s friends who are going through a hard time.

It’s all A LOT.

But also, I’m surprised at how I can actually manage it. It’s this constant game of, “Everything is fine and fun!” and “What is happening right now?” . . . and I play it every day.

I know it’s probably bad for me, but I can’t help it.

The first thing I do when I wake up (well second after I start the coffee) is check my phone. What tragedy happened overnight? What fun thing did my friends do last night? I read the articles about the 2-year-old boy whose parents were killed at the parade while simultaneously giving out “likes” and commenting, “Happy birthday, friend! Hope you have the BEST day!”

Next up: it’s time to work out. What Peloton class will I pick today? I should probably go with yoga — you know, for my mental health. I take the dog for our morning walk and pop in my earbuds. Should I start with a news podcast so I can be informed or go with my favorite celebrity gossip podcast to clear my head?

I come home from the walk, and wake my little boys up with a “Good morning lovey! I’m so happy to see you!” These sweet things do not need to know how scary the world feels to me sometimes. It’s summertime so their breakfast wish is my command. Chocolate chip pancakes? Absolutely. I will do anything to make you smile and keep you safe.

I head out to my office to work — which really is one of the best distractions of my day. I hop on a Zoom call and answer the question “How’s it going?” with a “Pretty good! Busy as always!” How’s it really going? I mean, not great! But that’s how a lot of us feel, isn’t it?

For over a week, I’ve been promising my kids that we’ll go to their favorite playground at the mall. But ugh, a mall seems like the perfect place for a mass shooting, doesn’t it? But I’ve promised them. And I can’t put my fears on them. But also, shouldn’t we be cautious? After work, we go anyway and I look for the exit signs so I know where we can run.

I come home, make an easy dinner, and get ready to play bocce ball on the beach with one of my best friends. I look at the ocean with my feet in the sand and think “What a life. I am so lucky to live here and to be able to do this on a Tuesday night.” I love my life so much and in this moment, I’m really able to feel grateful and lucky. 

I lay in bed doing one last scroll on my phone. I get fired up again about something I read and get so mad about inaction. I start to think about how excited I am for my boys to be in elementary school this fall together, but then that thought creeps into my mind . . . are they safe there? When I feel my mind racing, I know what to do. I pick up a book and read until I fall asleep. 

This feeling of being excited and happy, but also scared and worried is a struggle every single day.

And you’re probably thinking the easy solution to this is to “unplug”. But I can’t do that. Being uninformed and oblivious is worse to me than knowing. So I’ll keep looking, “liking” your pictures while reading the bad stuff, and looking for ways that I can be involved in positive change

It all feels so scary and oftentimes so, so hopeless. When the next awful thing hits the news, I get fired up, share posts on Instagram that align with my feelings, add a Moms Demand Action Zoom call to my calendar, and call my senators. But I am still a mom, a wife, an employee, and a friend — and my days have to go on. What has given me hope recently is getting involved in Moms Demand Action and local elections. Those are two things I feel I can be involved with that will actually make a difference

Despite the state of the world, my kids and husband still deserve a fun and happy life . . . and so do I. I think I’ve learned (especially lately), that I can be informed, involved, and enraged, while keeping my little life happy, positive, and full of experiences that create memories. For the foreseeable future, I’ll keep playing this mind game with myself, look for the good in every day and hope for more “everything is fine” days ahead.

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