The Long and the Short Views

I’ve been having a bit of a stressful time of it lately. It seems as if I’m suddenly always in trouble at work. My twin sister is moving away from me in only a couple of weeks (which is depressing even if I am going to follow in a few months). My mom keeps bringing up how upset she is that I’m a pagan.

“It is as though the world shifts around me and I find I once more face the burning.”

I was sort of obsessing about the work stress for a few days. And then I remembered my favorite coping mechanism. “Will I care about this in five years?” And the stress melted away instantly. No, I will not care in five years that my boss got mad at me over the price of a train ticket. Not even slightly. I won’t care in five years that I lived apart from my sister for three months because we will have been reunited.

But the other thing, I’ll care about that. Of course I care about my relationship with my mother and hope desperately that this will be repaired. But the way things are going, it’s not looking likely. It’s looking like this will always be a point of contention and stress with us. So far it’s been three and a half years since I told her, and it’s only gotten worse. But perhaps there is no solution. I am not willing to compromise my faith, and neither is she.

Still, I feel better being able to shake off the small things by remembering the long view. My philosophy in life is to take the long view on hardships and the short view on happiness. Both are intended in the question “will I care about this is five years?”

It’s great to be able to let go of stress by remembering that someday you won’t care. But it’s also great to be able to seize the day and find pleasure in happiness sitting on the couch or watching a flower bloom. And to focus on that. Pain and stress can come and go, but happiness is so fleeting. Those small moments of joy are the things you’ll remember in five years. Today the pain is so much easier to focus on. But looking backward reveals the happiness, and we feel nostalgia.

Not that I’m always good at it. But I try to look on my life with nostalgia for how it is right now. For these days in my beautiful apartment with my husband and my sister, when my nephew is not yet 16 and my other nephew is barely walking. When we have so few responsibilities. When we’re newlyweds. When I still have one of my grandmas and have never known true grief. When we are in the good times.

 

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