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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Low Maintenance or Idling?
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Wednesday, October 5,2016

Low Maintenance or Idling?

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

As our kids grow older, my husband and I like to take credit for the parts of their personalities that we are particularly fond of, while claiming, of course, to have no idea where the not-so-impressive qualities could have come from.

I would have to say that I’m a full-fledged Type B personality, while my husband is more like a Type A Type B. Nothing rattles him, but he doesn’t exactly know how to relax. He’s always thinking about his next move, whether it is pre-downloading the next Netflix binge before a current series has ended or planning our retirement. He never sits still, but also rarely gets stressed about anything. I, on the other hand, though I too rarely get stressed, am more of a ‘roll with the punches’ kind of person. I’ve actually been quite proud of my ability to look on the bright side and accept life’s curve balls with grace. As for the kids, we have two boys, and one steers his life the way my husband does while the other rides the waves like his mom.

Observing their lives from afar now that they’ve left the nest, and worrying about them like only a mom can, I started to question the virtue of my being so ultra mellow. A conversation with my mini me last week got me thinking about our coping style. He was rattling off a whole list of things that had “gone wrong” recently and had his usual, “but what can you do?” attitude. Then it hit me rolling with the punches means you still have to get punched! Wouldn’t it be better, whenever possible, to anticipate some of those punches and avoid them altogether? We roll with it people tend to live in the moment, which, until this recent episode, I was quite in favor of. My bookshelf rivals Oprah’s with such titles as The Power of Now, The Art of Now, Now and Zen... Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance... I literally meditate for fun.

But being in the habit of going with the flow has admittedly caused me to become somewhat complacent in the planning ahead department. Maybe that’s because I’ve been married to a serial planner for the past 25 years who very much needs to be in control of his circumstances, and who, by the way, is awesome at it. But as I watch the younger version of myself navigate, nay coast, through life, I worry that he’s had it too easy. Things do “always seem to work out” for him, and nothing, I mean nothing, wrecks his groove.

I go to my bookshelf and turn to the late, great Wayne Dyer, whose words still grace the pages of this newspaper. His wisdom is just what I need to dial me right back to mellowhood.

First, he views his children as teachers. Bingo. Observing my son’s reactions to his circumstances has inspired this essay. Lesson At the same time he reminds us that “when you abandon making choices, you enter the vast world of excuses.” This is exactly my concern. Yet he then advises, “Each experience in your life was absolutely necessary in order to have gotten you to the next place, and the next place, up to this very moment.” I am me and he is he. I can only continue to be a role model of deep breathing and nonstress and have faith that maturity will have him finding, not just landing on, but seeking out, his own path. And when he finds it, he will be a calm and loving yin to someone’s excitable and fiery yang, and all will be as it should be.


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