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Today is the day after the 2016 presidential election. Predictably, about half of the people I know are elated and the other half are distraught. It has been this way with politics, in my lifetime and since I actually started paying attention to it, since the 2000 election.
So rather than point out which of you are right and which are wrong (I say tongue-in-cheek), let me share a bit of my own life experience.
About 10 years ago or so, my family learned that my wife had a brain illness. Up to that point, our careers and success had been linear. We had a new baby and were both very successful. I embraced life and it embraced me. I enjoyed socializing with people, and thought that going ahead, all we had to concern ourselves with were our retirement investments and making sure our baby's college investment fund was filling up.
From that point, a cloud moved in over our heads. My wife's health gradually decreased to the point that she was in severe pain. Multiple surgeries and a loss of her career, and me having to watch her dreams slip through her fingers, eventually led to great emotional distress, not just for her but for me.
Our life changed. We moved, I sunk into a deep depression. I became irritable and dreaded any interaction with the public, having developed social anxiety.
However, through the slow dripping hell that we as a family endured, we also learned a valuable lesson. That every day is a gift. Now with two more children, a happy home, and laughter through the tears, we have learned that the most important thing in anyone's life is family. That includes anyone that loves you and spends time with you.
This message is for my friends who are distraught, mostly, but also generally for anyone needing encouragement. Although politicians and policy can affect your life, what matters is right in front of you. As a family, we had to make adjustments. Very uncomfortable ones. But we did it together. As my family has learned, love costs nothing, is not part of a policy or government mandate. It is an inherent right and gift we can give to each other, regardless of who is in charge of our government.
I would encourage you to turn off the TV. Unplug from the rhetoric that is being spewed and plug into who you are, who is around you.
I have not, in my entire life, had a sitting president or presidential candidate visit me in the hospital or at my times of deepest despair. They are there, you are HERE. So, be here and be present, and breathe out that which you cannot control. Your mind and your heart will thank you, and so will those around you.