I had not thought much about stress, although I do acknowledge that in just the idea of going through another variant shutdown, complete with masks, distancing and lockdowns, I realized I was the alto part of the chorus of weariness in American once again.
But that got me to realize that we here in northern California may have become babies about any inconvenience -- hot weather, cold weather, too much traffic, noisy leaf blowers, airplanes flying above our houses, etc.
In reality, we have really been extremely lucky -- no fires or floods in our area, too many wonderful sunny days (unfortunately not even a real rainstorm yet), no hurricanes, no fires blazing through our ocal hills and burning our homes, etc. Others in the country have gone through raging rainstorms that flood their streets, hurricanes that result in weeks without electricity, and blizzards up north. Indeed, we are blessed.
"I can't stand wearing a mask inside anymore," some have said. "I want my freedom; I am going to disregard this covid pandemic and do what I want when I want mask-free!"
Sure, wouldn't we in some way want to do that? But we don't because omicron spreads, masks check the spread, and we don't want others to die. This pandemic is still with us, we hope it will soon become "only" an endemic. Going around mask-free at Christmas parties will not get us there.
And then I thought this Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor remembrance day, about all those people who have gone through wars -- our grandparents and great-grandparents in Europe during WW II, the almost routine Nazi bombing of the Brits who patiently ran underground daily and suffered through this; the people of Afghanistan who have lived through a seemingly never-ending war, part of the constantly get-even battles in the Mideast.
I can't imagine being an Afghan mother frantically waiting each day for a son or daughter to come home, hoping there were no bombs that day - or the next day, or week, or year.
And then I think of us, here today, as we complain about all the noise from the airplanes flying above. However, we don't complain about flying in those very same planes.
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances.
But over recent years, stress has become the latest illness du jour. We're not just busy, anymore; we are stressed. Buying Christmas presents causes three months of self-proclaimed stress, and our friends nod and agree with us.
We complain about our children being stressed. A couple of years ago here in Palo Alto parents worried about the amount of homework our high school teenagers were getting, and parents claimed the two hours of studying at home was stressing their sons and daughters. What's wrong with that? They were assigned homework so that they could study and learn.
Yes, stress has become a new buzz word, for having too much or maybe too little to do. But sometimes and in some ways, we need stress because it produces a good result. Being busy used to be good; we've upgraded busy to stress, and now that's a bad thing.
Some parents say their college kids were so stressed this past year or two that they certainly didn't want their kids to have summer jobs. They needed to relax for the three summer months before going back to college for another year -- of stress -- and dating?
Yes, we are stressed out, but let's man up (and woman-up) about it. Optimistically speaking, we can handle it -- just try.