Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Question: Are we crazy or strong?

As the saying goes, change happens when the fear of the status quo becomes greater than the fear of change itself. As humans, we put ourselves through incredibly difficult situations. But we persist until fear becomes too great and we decide that change is better. It makes me wonder:

Where is the line between coping with a situation and becoming resilient because of a situation?
When are we pushing on despite difficulties and when are we rising to meet challenges?
Is there a difference between holding strong and growing strong?

I am confused. And concerned. Concerned for the well being of people who choose to take on seemingly insurmountable challenges.

What might be my breaking point is not another person's breaking point. While friends of mine might be interested in training for and running The Death Race (a 125 km marathon through the Rocky Mountains of Canada) I wouldn't last more than 10 kms. Why would anyone be crazy enough to push themselves to the brink of breakdown in a marathon like that?!

Does that make me a weak person or a wise person? Are they a strong person or a crazy person?

My grandfather made the choice to live a better life when he immigrated his family to Canada in 1958. But sometimes I wonder if it was actually a better life for my grandmother who suffered bi-polar depression living and coping in Edmonton so far away from her parents. Who knows.

Then there's the parent on the ferry the other day who let his 5 year old daughter scream, cry and carry on with a wicked temper tantrum in public without reacting. I wonder if this parent is rising to the challenge of raising his child by employeing a technique he's heard of or if he is simply coping. Who knows.

As I write this, I am thinking about family and friends who are faced with life altering challenges. While I feel for them I also want to shake them out of their routine like the 3 spirits in Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol did. I want to get them to their breaking point before something even more drastic happens in their lives. I worry about them. I know that there are friends and family out there who have wanted in the past (and maybe even now) to give my head a shake and get me to wake up and smell the coffee too. Who knows.

Such is life.

Change doesn't happen until the status quo becomes more scary than the change itself. We will never know what another person's breaking point is. I can only be sure of my own breaking point and my own boundaries. And even then, my own boundaries are re-negotiated each time I encounter new experiences and new people enter my life. I make new choices and choose my behaviours and actions anew every day. It's tough work being a human. Changing all the time, negotiating boundaries all the time... Sheesh! (No wonder those tequila shots went down so easy last weekend... har har)

So I guess my question is:
Am I coping and holding strong because I'm afraid of change or am I thriving, growing strong and becoming less afraid?

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