The indoor pool where I swim has regulars who attend and work out at the same time that I swim. Since I’ve been swimming there for over thirty years, people come and go. Currently there are around six people to whom I say hello or have a little chat in between laps. Often we end up sharing our lanes when it gets crowded.
One of the regulars is Andrew. He’s retired from his career and started swimming about five years ago. He endeared me when he got out of the pool soaking wet, went to his gym bag, and offered me a cookie while I was still doing laps. I declined the cookie, since I don’t normally eat them when I’m wet. What a gentleman.
Andrew is Hungarian and he’s a liberal. He’s been very upset about the political state of affairs since the last election. Sometimes he stops me from doing my laps to tell me how upset he is about what’s going on at the White House.
Today the conversation started when he stopped me and told me he wished he’d gone to Holland instead of coming to the United States, because we have become so decayed by money and corruption.
Today I put my hand on his wet arm and suggested he consider another way to keep from getting distressed about the situation while he’s in the pool. I stopped him, and put up a boundary by saying, “ I’m not going to discuss politics while I’m doing laps.” He did stop talking.
“I’m looking at the current political situation in a different way than you are, Andrew. I stopped social media, and I listen to five minutes of news on the hour, so I know the events of the day. I focus on my community volunteer work and choose to redirect my negative thinking about the end of America as I once knew it.”
The word is ‘choose.’ Since I’m only one person living in California society that streams non-factual and factual news to me in a constant diet, I don’t know what to believe anymore. I struggle to get ‘facts’ and choose to decide for myself if I agree or disagree with issues.
I refuse to put what’s left of my life force into negative fear about how things are going.
People in Southern Marin still can’t deal with the fact that Donald Trump is president, and he was elected over a year ago. Regardless of how things are going in the White House, he’s in, and until he’s out, he’s in.
Andrew can choose to spend his lap time stewing about how bad things are in America and I don’t disagree with him. But I am not going to give my life juice to the fear anymore.
I’m not on a soapbox about this situation. I think that having a choice is a skill that has been hard to develop, because there are many things in today’s world that make us feel victimized.
I’m ‘thinking globally and acting locally.’ I choose to do my volunteer work and try to be kinder to people than I was yesterday. Somebody has to be brave and not frightened, so why not let it be me?