Growing up, I remember my Dad saying, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” I looked up the origins of this saying, and found that it was featured in a cartoon a long time ago, that has been attributed to John Buchan, a Scottish novelist, unionist and Canadian politician, and that it has been used as song lyrics, first by Maurice Chevalier and later by the Tragically Hip. No matter where my Dad got it from, I can relate to it and the words have stuck with me.
I work in social services and have in some variety for the past 15 years. I have worked with youth, family, elderly, homeless, mentally ill and drug addicted people. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like helping people and I am someone who helps other whether I am at work or among friends. This does not mean that my job(s) has been easy, that I have not gone through burnout, and that I don’t have days when I fantasize about winning the lottery and walking away from the world of social services, and work, forever. I try to have more good days than bad, I do the best I can to do my job, and I try to not bring others’ problems home with me, which is a lot easier than it used to be. I have a set schedule now rather than a few set days and a mostly fluid schedule, which means I am usually done with work at a certain time but my day lacks flexibility. I don’t have to take phone calls once I am off the clock, which fluctuated when I scheduled my own appointments and was trying to get in touch with working parents.
“It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.”
Some days I find it hard to get up and go to work to deal with others’ problems and dysfunctions while I am dealing with stress and dysfunctions in my life and coupled with the reality that life is not getting better or easier for most people, me included. I struggle with the limited time I have in the evening and on weekends to relax and do things that keep me sane, after I help Boyfriend with daily apartment tasks, such as dishes, cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, playing with the cat, and getting enough sleep. Exercise, writing, watching baseball, talking with family/friends and playing tennis are things that I enjoy. The tough thing is that if I take time to write, I am probably not going to exercise, play tennis or do much else, especially during the evening. It’s a juggling act for me, and I know this sounds like nothing for someone who also has kids, but this is enough for me. On good days, I feel like I can do what I need to do, I relish in getting all of my home and work tasks done and I believe that things will, and can, get better.
I doubt that I am the only one who feels this way. Life can be great and yet we all have days when we not only weaken but we want to hide under the covers and not come out. I find strength in the support I get from Boyfriend, who has a bad back and other injuries that ail him but he never complains. I find strength in our one-year old cat who loves us and brings us her toy mice in the night, and in the clients who are truly grateful for my assistance. I find strength in my ability to get up, even when I don’t want to so I can fulfill my responsibilities. “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken,” and I try my best to keep going.