There is a saying that those who fly alone are the ones with the strongest wings …
When you are the one flying solo however, there are certainly times when you question just how much updraft, downdraft and turbulence your ‘wings’ can take and you wish only for clear and calm blue sky ahead.
I have – and still do at times, travel this roller coaster … feeling the rush of the high, the thrill of the chase and the sinking thud in the deepest pit of your stomach when it all turns to crap and you are in the midst of a headlong rush to the bottom of the track.
This feeling … well … honestly … it can really screw you over! It shifts your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and when it hits, there is no “use by” or “best before” date that gives you the sense of relief that the worst is nearly over.
So how do we cope? How do we keep going and play the societal game of outwardly looking and coming across as being “fine”?
More importantly, why do we feel the need that we have to come across this way?
This is a question I often ponder. What is the sense within our personal being – or what is the expectation that we obviously feel from society to always be on top and “all good”? Because the reality is, I have yet to meet anyone consistently riding the wave or flying those clear blue non-turbulent skies.
I think, part of the reason, is that society in general seems to have morphed toward an unnecessary desire to “do it all ~ on our own”. In days gone by … there seems to have been a much larger sense of community, extended family and people there to help each other out ~ without necessarily being asked. You just did!
I have such fond memories of being regaled with stories from mum and dad of our life in the 70’s in New Zealand … living on a street with other young families … neighbours home brewing beer together … sharing Sunday night roasts after chatting in the front garden of an afternoon with the conversation turning to what you were having for dinner … “roast beef and veg for us” …. “oh yum, we’ve got a chook in the oven and fresh beans” ~ and next thing you know one family is traipsing across the road, roast firmly entrenched in oven gloved hands to share dinner, laughter and great company with neighbours … we have life-long friendships forged from those days.
Sadly, for whatever reason, my life and community has certainly shifted since those days as it has for many people I know. The living close to family and extended family is no longer an option for many, for so many reasons … some good and some perhaps not so good. Chasing the mighty dollar and the need for some to “keep up with the Jones” is the driving force for some whilst many others, including myself do what we have to do to just get by.
I firmly believe there is a fall out from this shift that comes with the loss of extended family and community being an everyday ‘normal’. It transcends to the pressure we feel (whether that is self-imposed or not) to be on the top of our game, to constantly achieve and show the world we can do it all on our own.
I need to be mindful of this pressure because I am one of those who fly alone, charged with the honour and responsibility of bringing up my two primary school aged children. I feel the overwhelming need to achieve, to do the best I possibly can for myself and to set an example for my kids and show them when you put your mind to something, you can succeed.
The important thing for me (and those travelling a similar path) to remember, is to give self a little more credit than perhaps you do. I need to ensure I focus on the positives and not dwell on the negatives. I need to know and feel it is not a failure on my behalf in any way to reach out … ask for … and accept the support of friends, family and community when things aren’t going so well or when I hit that downward spiral.
It is an admirable thing to fly alone on strong wings … it is just as admirable to ask others to join your flight path, to beat their wings alongside yours and to ultimately aid your journey.
Macca ~ June 12th 2015