Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Periodically, when I'm grappling with a serious problem (I've had a few lately) someone will say, "I'm sure it will all work out!"

I cock my head a bit, smile, and reply frankly, "Yup... Or not."

I have no doubt that things could work out. I'm equally certain there's no guarantee that they will. Maybe it's age, or maybe it's experience, but I tend not to get as frantic about outcomes as I used to. Why? Because whether things work out or things fall apart, I will do something. If there's a disaster, I'll get up again and start over. People do.

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I've been reading Martin Seligman's latest, Flourish. He's the guy who wrote Learned Optimism, which is one of the books I've recommended to at least a hundred people. This new book is about the research on well-being. The part I'm reading is about the program Seligman helped the Army develop to promote strong mental health. He points out that what we all hear about is PTSD, and yet the stats are that a full 85% of people who have been through a traumatic event recover. So he set out to find out what the characteristics are of people who thrive in the wake of difficulty, and what can be done to teach others those skills. He calls it PTSG: Post Traumatic Stress Growth. It's a possibility, you know.

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A week or so ago Little Guy and I had a chat. He was distraught about Big Guy'd downward spiral. "I'm afraid he's going to hurt himself," he said, "I'm afraid he's going to die."

I held him close, and was silent for a moment. "That's a scary feeling," I began, then stopped. After a moment I asked, "What would we do if he died?"

Little Guy looked at me with startled eyes, and shook his head with not-knowing. I said, "First we would be very, very sad. And then we would somehow find a way to keep going. And it would be hard, but we would do it because that's the only real option, and because we love each other, and would help each other grow into strong people even though we were hurting inside."

We sat in silence for a bit. Then I added, "We are doing everything we know how to do to help your brother. We are trying our best, you know."  He nodded.


  1. Replies
    1. Julia, I hope things work out THE BEST for you and all your family. But if they don't, then I know you will just get right up and do the NEXT BEST thing on your list. And I hope Big Guy reaches a positive plateau---even for a little while--so everyone can have a breather. Always the best to you. AA

  2. Some things are so hard that you get even stronger in the face of them, especially when it comes to our children. xo

  3. and sometimes you just have to lie down and give up for a while. you do, you can, and its allright. ah.

  4. wifemotherexpletive, you are SO right about that!