Ayuh…made a short trip home to Maine last weekend. Just a quick overnight to check on my house, visit with good friends and relax on “Big Red” (the most comfortable couch on the planet, as demonstrated by Sadie!). The trip was great, but way too short.
Usually when I make the trip from Massachusetts to Maine, I have a landmark that lets me know I am home – a sign that says, “MAINE: The Way Life Should Be.” When I pass this sign as I cross the border on I-95, I generally feel a sense of calm – my blood pressure drops and my anxiety subsides. But this trip was different; I did not experience that inner peace. Instead, I became fixated on the word “SHOULD.”
I think it’s safe to say we all have our moments of “shoulds.” Some are some fairly benign – “I should have a salad instead of a burger” or “I should pass on the whipped cream!” Others more serious – “I should be married by now” or “I should have bought that house before the market tanked.” Some of our “shoulds” are quickly forgotten; others we can hold on to for years.
I have a major case of the “shoulds” these days. Indeed, to paraphrase the State of Maine, I am not living my life the way I think I “should be”- I should be living on my own and independent; I should be working full-time, getting ready for the new school year to begin; I should be able to drive myself wherever I want to go; I should be able to spend part of my summer at the beach – I could go on and on. But, I can’t wallow in these “shoulds.” I have to remember that these “shoulds” are not my fault; they are due to circumstances beyond my control.
We all battle our “shoulds” whether we struggle with illness or not. The lesson for me that I struggle to accept is that, right now, this is the way life is. Perhaps the State of Maine ought to rethink it’s slogan…