It was supposed to be a giant ice storm. That’s what the ladies and gents on TV told us. A large amount of ice and freezing rain was heading to the metro and we’d better prepare. So schools were closed, patients were moved up, generators were readied, salt and sand was placed on the roadways. Grocery stores were emptied of bread and milk and lots of other things this week in preparation for the ice. If you actually needed bread and milk, because you were out at home, you were out of luck. It was being gobbled up by anxious citizens bracing for the ice apocalypse. And then we waited…and waited…and waited.
We did eventually get some ice on the trees and a bit on the roads but it came about 24 hours after everyone predicted and wasn’t nearly as bad as anticipated. Overall a good thing. But times like these always make me realize how much we buy into the myth of scarcity. There will be a disaster and not enough to go around.
So what are the other myths in our lives? I’ll try to tackle some that I see on a not so infrequent basis.
- “I did such and such method, (cry it out, shushing baby, swaddle, feed on demand, etc etc) and my baby was such a good such and such (sleeper, breastfeeder, transitioner).” Reality check: Babies do what they want. We can try all the tricks in the book but some kids sleep well and some don’t. Some are good eaters and some, who shall remain nameless, just jump up and down on their chair instead of eating during dinner time.
- That spot in that public place you’ve claimed? Well it doesn’t actually belong to you. This happens at all sorts of places. Someone takes “your seat” at church. You are “saving” that piece of gym equipment while you use something else. This is where you “always” park. Reality check: None of those things are yours. The church pew doesn’t belong to you no matter how many weeks in a row you’ve sat there. That leg lift machine you’re saving is going to be used by me now, well, because you’re not actually using it. I get it. We find security in routine. But I’ve only got so much time at the gym in the morning and you’re wasting it leg press saving guy.
- “Someone else will do it.” Giving the money, cleaning up the trash, standing up for injustice, speaking out when someone is doing harm. Reality check: If you aren’t willing to do it, then why do you think someone else will? None of us are really braver than you. Either do stuff or don’t do stuff but don’t let yourself off the hook by assuming someone else will do it. That someone else thinks you are already taking care of whatever it is.
- Just because you can post something doesn’t mean you should. Reality check: As first conceptualized by one of the church girls and then paraphrased by yours truly…”If you won’t say it to someone’s FACE then don’t post it on FACEBOOK.” Seriously. You don’t like someone’s opinions or beliefs? That’s ok. But it doesn’t mean you need to attempt to harm or discredit them. I am almost 100 percent certain that no one’s mind or heart has ever been radically transformed by a hastily penned angry Facebook comment. Trust me, it’s not easy. I have about a thousand deleted comments that I thought were not only on point but witty and sharp. They never made it to publication. Why? Because it just doesn’t help.
- And finally “that’s just the way I am.” The Pastor knows this is my least favorite myth that people live by. Reality check: You are never too old to change. The person you were in 2016 does not define who you are in 2017. The person you are today does not control the person you can be tomorrow. And if you change something about yourself and you don’t like it? Guess what? Change again. My favorite people in life are those who have lived enough and learned enough about themselves to know what to hold on to from each phase of life and what to let go. That bad attitude you had all last year? Don’t drag it along to 2017, let’s try something new. Those hateful things you said? Do better in the coming days and months. Living your life as “that’s just the way I am” seems utterly disappointing and fairly sad to me.
There was no massive ice storm. So maybe take that extra bread and milk and those extra hours at home and see if you can debunk any myths in your own life! Here’s to living in reality and realizing you can make change in your own life in 2017!