For the sake of my blood pressure and keeping myself out of the hospital with more heart trouble, I let things go. I try and avoid stress before it happens. People and things I would’ve normally gotten pissed about, I let go. Or, rather, I don’t engage with in the first place. A stressful event is about to happen and I “defocus” mentally, click, off. I stop paying attention to it, even if it’s a person speaking directly at me. I zone out like they’re on the other side of the room in the humma-humma of a coffee shop.
My therapist said it’s a recognized technique, holding your stress at arm’s length out away from you.
It’s like when that relative of yours that has you on his email list of racist Obama jpgs sends you his latest meme and instead of confronting him on it, actually voicing your disapproval, maybe changing his mind a little or at least making him think for once… Instead of doing that, of doing anything and getting all riled up in the process, you just hit delete.
When my 20-something daughter barks at me in response to a simple question or suggestion, I let it go. I know growing up in a white, suburban household has got to be a burden on her; the stress of living with no stress can be so stressful. I mean, we didn’t even buy her an Escalade when she got her license at 16 like all her friends. Stuff like that can really wear on a gal… So when she snaps at me for no reason, I drop it. My fifty-some years of experience can’t match her twenty-some years of none.
So the overall result is: I’m not really engaged in my life, only about half the time. I drift through the stress points in my day to land on the peaceful points in between. Gliding past the idiots and the dickheads, disengaged, to get through to where I need to be.
I know I feel “forgetful” sometimes. It’s not early Alzheimer’s. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m sliding along in a de-stressed, Zen-induced trance. My kids’ll say remember when we…? and I can’t place it, like it never happened to me, mainly, I think, because it kind of never did.
I wonder, sometimes, if the stressful situations in life are the interesting ones. Are they the meat? Juicy and chewy and spicy? And the unstressful parts are the mashed potatoes? With no butter or sour cream…