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The Wisdom To Know The Difference

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There used to be a plaque I’d see. I can’t remember if it was in my mom’s office or if it was somewhere else, but it said this:

Lately, this has been a test for me. I’ve been getting far too upset about things I just can’t change. I want to, I try to, but I feel like that defeated ant in the song Shirley used to sing to LaVerne,

only I CAN’T move the rubber tree plant, BECAUSE, I’m just an ant.

The school district is getting MILLIONS of dollars cut from the budget. I’m the fundraising VP, but I feel like my measly efforts to raise money for the school mean NOTHING. They’re not going to bring back a library, a teacher, or help pay to keep class sizes under 35. It makes me feel like “WHAT’S THE POINT OF ALL OF THIS?” Sure, we can do stuff as parents, but ultimately, we have no power.

Then there’s politics. I don’t even know where to begin, except that I feel like I’m watching lawmakers attempt to take women’s rights clean away. Take away our right to get medications, reproductive rights, clinics that do more than just abortions- that do health screenings and educate… what’s next? Taking our right to vote? One presidential candidate doesn’t even think that college is a good idea. I feel like we’re moving backwards and I don’t understand it. AND AGAIN, OTHER THAN VOTING AND ATTEMPTING TO GET INVOLVED IN WHAT LITTLE WAY I CAN, THERE’S NOTHING I CAN REALLY DO.

And then, my friends. When one or more of my friends does something that I think is self-destructive. What can I do? I get stomach aches over it. I stress about it. I speak my peace and try to tell them how I feel about it and that’s all I can really do. In the end, it’s not my life. In the end, my friends are adults that have to make their own choices. Just as they can’t tell me what to do – they can only offer their opinions and support, or not.

The final thing that’s been on my mind is our pre-k situation at school. I’d never been up there until 2 weeks ago. When I visited, I realized that there was at least one less than ideal situation the kids and teachers were living with. I wanted to help and stewed about it for days. I talked to people. I wanted to help. I started to plan action. I went in to talk to the teacher only to find out that there was truly nothing more I could do.

The problem is, I’m a FEELER. I feel things, perhaps too much. I feel worried for our kids who have such struggles ahead of them. I feel empathy for the teachers who will have such big classrooms and for those who will lose their jobs. I feel depressed when I think of the state of politics. I feel lost when I can’t help a friend, or when I feel like a friend is going against who I think she really is. I feel defeated when I want to help a school situation and am told there’s NOTHING I can do.


That’s what it feels like. Powerless. When you want to do something helpful and you feel like there’s nothing you can do, you have no power.

You feel defeated.

So, this is what I need to learn. I need to learn that some things I just can’t change, and when I can’t change them, I need to do my best to accept it and move on. And do the best to either make do with what I can change, or figure out how to make peace with the fact that I can’t do anything, and that is perhaps the hardest part.

So, I’ll focus on the good stuff.

I’ve got a great family and great friends, and a fabulous new project on the horizon.

What's important.

And I suppose that will have to do for now, until something changes.

What makes you feel defeated?

How do you choose your battles?




3 responses »

  1. I feel defeated when I realize that my happiness is inexorably tied to the feelings and actions of another, over whom I have no sway, whether proprietous or not. The very definition of “accept the things I cannot change”, I feel defeated because I should’ve known better, and now I am faced with the daunting task of examining what I want and allowing it to organically flow into those categories that are healthy and acceptable. And do not impose upon another’s happiness.

  2. As I’ve told you many times before your great loyalty to friends and your deep, bottomless capacity to love are two of the things I love about you. This world is a better place because people like you even try and don’t just give up without ever trying. {hugs}

  3. What a great post…I know how you feel…I too get worked up about stuff that’s out of my control (and often none of my business). It’s frustrating when you see something that’s wrong and you can’t fix it. I’ve had that come up a lot lately. It’s hard to pick the battles, but it’s even harder to know when to just let go….

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