As an adult, one of my favourite stories of all times has been about learning to put the glass down. It has changed my life and made it more liveable and happy.
Here’s the story –
You have to hold a glass full of water in your hand. As we all know, it hardly has any weight. Hold it for 30 minutes and you can hardly feel the weight. But if you hold it for 48 hours at a stretch – you may require medical attention. What this means is that we all have some burdens, issues to carry in our daily lives – they could be as small as the driver not turning up or as big as losing a child – if you don’t learn to put it down, you could end up in rehab. We all have something to carry, hence this is applicable to all of us.
In my limited years of experience, I have understood that managing ’the’ burden is almost directly proportionate to how often you put it down. Some of us just don’t know when it becomes a part of us and we carry it around everywhere – at all times. Eventually, it may just weigh us down completely…
That’s when the idea of putting the glass down starts to make sense. By putting it down – I mean take breaks. You could take a break to watch your fav show for 30 minutes, play an online game, go golfing, read a book – anything that temporarily takes your mind off your troubles. Develop an interest that involves only you and is doable even at 3am !
Recently, when I was going through a very painful divorce – it took away all my physical and mental bandwidth. Life was changing uncontrollably fast socially, mentally, emotionally, culturally, and worst of all financially. I was unprepared and was finding it difficult to cope… My day in the court would often be detailed to well meaning friends and family… It was exhausting yet I felt cared for and protected. And they all were extremely patient in hearing me rant and cry buckets. One day, after a particularly rough day in the court, my uncle told me – ”Its 4pm. Have lunch now and when I leave, you will not discuss any of this with anybody. Take a break. And try to be a normal family.”
I thought he had lost it. And my immediate reaction was – ”Uncle, this is ripping my heart, my family and kids and how can you expect me to be normal? HOW?”
But you know, I managed it. And it felt great. This was the first 14 hours in over 10 months that I had put the glass down. I felt lighter. I watched a movie at home with the kids, cooked up a meal, had a drink with my mom and put my feet up. None of this changed a thing in the court – my issues still stood in front of me – but I just seemed better prepared to deal with them. I had renewed my sources of energy, my kids felt good to have a smiling mother around, my mother felt more relaxed and I actually asked a friend how she was doing !
People – it wasn’t easy. And even I couldn’t manage it most of the times, but I knew that it had to be done. Under any circumstances. There are people whose issues are a thousand times more than what I faced, and my only request to them is to put the glass down – for whatever little time they can.
Another trick I used then was to fake happiness till I felt it. It was revolting at times. But I was relentless.
I am not saying that I don’t have any problems any more. Problems are shape shifting and creatures of sly disguise. Don’t feel guilty about having some fun on the side. It’s called self-preservation.
And I still fake it sometimes.