Keeping Your Wits

Feeling anxious because of the actions of people and entities you have little to no control over can be alarming. I admit these days to feeling terrified about what is going on in politics.

I don’t have to paint you a picture of the trying times for seniors on fixed incomes who rely on Social Security and/or Medicare. It’s incredibly easy for me to head down the rabbit hole of worry and depression about the future stability of our lives and livelihoods as we face uncertainties about these government programs continuing to be there for us. I feel even more concern when I think about similar programs that support our families and ensure future generations survive. Will our grandchildren have safe food to eat? Clean water to drink? Affordable school tuition?

I can get stuck in that negative place, and I’ve been known to distract myself with food, alcohol, and even retail therapy. Lately I’ve been trying to switch up the unhealthy coping mechanisms with time with friends and/or binge-watching Home Town on HGTV.

Caught Off Guard

Based on my tendency to choose a less-than-healthy coping mechanism, I was super surprised this morning when one of these worries surfaced in my psyche, and, instead of reaching for something to eat, I admonished myself, “Keep your wits about you.” It’s not a phrase I ever used nor had I heard it since my parents were alive. Hearing it now, in my head and in my heart, stopped me in my tracks. Keep your wits about you, Antonia.

For an unexplained reason, thinking that old-fashioned statement at that moment made me break the “everything sucks,” negative attitude in turn for something completely different.

Here’s a stream of the thoughts that followed:

“I am resilient, and I can get through anything.”
“I don’t want to have to be strong, but I can be, and now’s the time.”
“I will stand up for whatever I believe in in whatever form that takes for me.”

“I can move forward without allowing anyone or anything to snuff out the goodness that is in my life and that is inherently who I am.”
“It does no good to let a person or an event steal your joy.”

I’m a Superhero When I Need to Be One

I was impressed with myself (insert obligatory back-patting here). Keeping my wits about me allowed the natural progression of my feelings from hopeless to helpful. Having this one thought and the resulting good vibes opened me up to possible ways I can survive in peace in the ensuing months and years.

I can eat, drink, and shop or I can use my skills to thwart, like a superhero, the unproductive fears that drain the life out of my well-being.

In the coming weeks and months, I have a choice in how I move through this time. My choice to be strong could last for days. Other times it may only last moments.

Find Inner Peace (and Kick Some Emotional Tush Too!)

I know the likelihood of our government, much less our split communities, being able to address, much less begin to repair, most of these issues, is and will remain nil. There have been times when the most positive thought to surface was, Well, I’m glad my mother and sister aren’t alive to witness the shenanigans going on in our world.  Well, I can work with that!

That being said, I will not – no, I refuse to – let politicians on either side of the aisle, or corporate megalomaniacs only interested in their profits, suck the joy out of my life. I have a few years left – God willing – and the thought of being fearful, depressed, powerless, and just a spectator in life is abhorrent. Watch me work to stay positive and engaged, to avoid crumbling under the negativity.

I’m keeping my wits about me; what about you?