I’m not much of a women’s mag reader. There’s too many of them and too little time for reading, which is a sad fact for most adults. But I do notice headlines while waiting in grocery store lines. The former newspaper editor in me can’t help but zero in on headlines. So I found it worth noting that three of them, Family Circle, Woman’s Day and Ladies Home Journal, currently contain articles on beating stress, as if the month of May is as charged with stress as January is charged with regret. (January magazines always boast tips on losing holiday poundage).
I actually can’t argue with the timing. Life is a bit stressful on the Edge at this time in my life. And stress, unlike a few too many inches in January, is a selfish little monster, a gobbler of hours and energy. It’s far more complicated than calorie-indulging. Deeper. Thicker. And I’m of the mind that you can’t whisk it away by reading a page of tips sandwiched between Recipes for The Finicky and Summer Haircuts You’ll Want To Keep All Year Long!
But certainly there is a place to start. There’s always a place where you start.
I read the articles.
There was cross-over to be sure. And some no-brainer, across-the-board tips like learn to say no, exercise, get enough sleep, meditate, eat healthy.
But in the end, past the tips I hadn’t thought of before, like stop comparing myself to other people, lose the fascination with perfection, be thankful for what I don’t have (there are hundreds of heartaches I do not own, hallelujah), we have to learn to live with it. One of my all time favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Among a boatload of great lines is this one uttered by Westley as the Man in Black when Inigo insists on knowing Westley’s identity. “Get used to disappointment,” the man in black says. Get used to it. Why? Because it’s the nature of the planet we live on and the people we share it with. And how do we get used to something? By familiarity, dangnabit. The more exposure we have to that which addles us, the more we become its observer and less its slave. When I become an observer, when I can maintain perspective, everything shifts. It doesn’t change. But it shifts.
Desserts become sweet again.
And there’s always June to look forward to . . .