I was driving home in my truck, orange and yellow leaves haphazardly making the street more beautiful, and it was wet outside but not raining. Late afternoon.
I was thinking of the eight different people I've spoken with in the last few weeks who were in tears. Mostly mamas. Also dads. Overwhelmed and sad. People who you might run into and have a lovely, chatty conversation in the grocery store and think afterward how together they are.
And I was thinking about me. And you. And us.
And I smiled.
And I was filled up with compassion for all of us. Because we have really done a number on ourselves, y'all.
I mean that "we" in a large sense, in that big societal everyone-and-no-one all at the same time sense.
Somehow, we've spun into a system that expects overwork so implicitly we just do it without even being asked. A system that has us yelling at our partners and our kids so much more than we'd like because the grocery store was out of rotisserie chicken and it's 6 o'clock already and that is our fucking tipping point. A way of being in the world where we feel we've failed if we can't fit in work, kids, parents, extended family, holiday festivities, having people over, yoga, volunteering, dealing with money, homemade meals, self-care, creativity, a side business project, growing our own vegetables, spiritual something-or-other, current friends, friends from the last place we lived, college friends, and friends who might be helpful for us to know someday. And also we need to be at least passably good at all these things.
I'm not saying anything new right now. I know that.
I am feeling something new, though. It's that compassion piece I've never experienced in quite this way before. For all of us.
I want to give us a hug. We are trying so hard.
I want to tell you that I see you working your ass off to do decent work, to show love to your family when you feel like your head's exploding, and to generally figure out this life. I see you trying so hard.
You are not alone in this.