Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Security is mostly imagination, it doesn't exist in is either a daring adventure or it's nothing at all."
Helen Keller 1919-1985

Someone sent this quote to me today in an email. I thought it worth sharing, especially in light of the recent posts I've read expressing various forms of insecurity about jobs, health, children, and the welfare of others.

We are all insecure. I have struggled with it my entire life. There are days I awake and hit the ground running and can talk with anyone about anything. (I'm in sales). There are other days I want to crawl in a hole and avoid interaction completely, afraid someone will find out I'm a fraud. Yesterday I had a hard time speaking on the phone with prospective clients. I found myself explaining that I was having a "brain freeze". I don't need to do that! Nobody cares anyway! That's not insecurity, it's reality. :)

The point is, Helen Keller is right. Security is in your head. You have a job today, you lose it tomorrow. Are you still the same person? Yes. Have your circumstances changed? Yes. Are you now facing adventure? Yes. If you look at new circumstances as an opportunity, as an adventure, it puts a positive spin on things. They don't seem quite as scary.

The yogis have it right. Do what you can today. It may be better or not as good as what you did yesterday but it is the best you can do for now.

Remember "The Road Not Taken".


ellen abbott said...

Being a self employed artist with no other income, I have lived this way for 34 years. Some days it is scary, some days not. I just try to keep my attention on today and do the best I can. Tomorrow will resolve itself. I could get hit by a bus. Doesn't stop me from having sleepless nights though. I try to get over the mini panic attacks by telling myself there is nothing I can do about it in the middle of the night (true) and tomorrow if won't seem so dire (also true).

Baino said...

Dammit girl, just as I'm enjoying my wallow in jobless self pity, you start making sense! Of course you're right . . there is no such thing as security in life. It's a false premise that we hope for. Mind you it took me 30 years to realise it! So now the big adventure begins!

California Girl said...

Now you see, Ellen, no sleepless nights here. I drink!!!

Baino: you are a good woman. No smiley faces from me. But I have been ruminating on your dilemma. I know we are all this close to being let go every day.

Susan said...

I've been living the yogis' credo for years and didn't know it. You can only do what you can do. :)

verification word: realings. That's kinda like reality in a weird way.

Minka said...

You're right, but many of us are cowards in this respect. Besides, it's much easier to say that for yourself only than for the kids you're responsible for.
Actually, I feel pretty secure. Not absolutely, but more or less.

But it's still true.

And adventure is good if it doesn't turn into a disaster.

Tanna said...

I have found myself experiencing a constant, though in greater and lesser degree, sense on anxiety after passing fifty. When I was younger, I always felt like I could deal with whatever life put in my path... now, I feel more vulnerable... not as confident in my abiltiy to deal. I have recognized that I am not invincible... and it sucks. I soothe myself with, "but it is the best you can do for now."

California Girl said...

Susan: good for you. Best way to live.

Minka: adventure is also a state of mind.

Tanna: yes. fifty in the job market is really tough. my husband hasn't been able to get one for the past 18 mos (he's close to 60 now). We do lose our confidence.

crone51 said...

Yup. Life can and does turn on a dime. I am not sure I know what that means exactly ( turns on a dime? Huh? do people actually drive over dimes just to turn on them- I digress)- but I know it happens. I stopped worrying about things I couldn't control when a friend's child was killed suddenly in an accident ( he was five) many years ago. However, yes, as I age I also feel more vulnerable. It's odd. I have not come to terms with it at all. Sometimes I find myself absolutely terrified

Rinkly Rimes said...

I have been a worrier all my life. I think living is like walking through a minefield. However, I'm now 78 and nothing awful has happened (apart from inevitable things like the death of parents). I have a mantra 'If I worry about it t wont happen'! It's quite useful!

California Girl said...

Cr51: I don't know where the colloquial came from. I get the terror part though. Am currently working with a therapist who helps me understand what I'm feeling and why I react in certain ways based on that feeling. More often than not, the feeling is fear.

RR: A minefield is an excellent metaphor! It's great when you're stepping in between. sigh.

Deboshree said...

We all are harping for that but there are a few of us,very few mind you, who have leart the truth about life.
The only permanent thing in our life is change.
The sooner we realise,the sooner we shape ourselves that way.
I read this somewhere and it means a lot now-
why not enjoy leading a life full of uncertainties rather than drain all our energies on MAKING life the way we want it to be?
Just enjoy life as it comes.


California Girl said...

Debroshree: yes, change is permanent. Good point.

Greg said...

everyday is a new chance and I need all the chances I can get!

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't think there's any such thing as "safe." Everything about life is up for grabs.

That truth can take me into fear, or remind me to lighten up, that there are always more options available than I think there are.

That truth can connect me with something bigger than myself.

On a blog I just read, the blogger was saying that life must be lived one day at a time. I completely agree.

Ruth said...

I left a recent faculty meeting about budget cuts utterly glum. I met with students the next day in a stupor, not knowing what to tell them about what to do with their degree. Everything had changed, shifted. Universities will be different. Everything will be different after this recession.

But then as the day drew on I recognized that the arts - writing is what we focus on in my department - will be more important than ever. It will be essential for us to see and read and hear expressions of these days through artistic means.

And then, last week, one day when I was exhausted and stressed and staring at the screen depleted, I suddenly realized, thank goodness! I'm stressed from a JOB! The alternative would be far more stressful.

But as you say, so well, what comes each day IS, and our attitude toward it is what matters.

Sorry for the long comment.

Lover of Life said...

I always try to see the adventure, but have to admit, I also have those "bury my head in the sand" times, too.

P.S. I'm reading the Pema Chodron book you talked about at one point. I really really like it. Thanks for the tip.

California Girl said...

Greg: "I'll have what(you're) having."

Reya: You've got that right; everything is "up for grabs" and nothing is safe. Safe is also a state of mind.

Ruth: Those of us still working feel guilty when our jobs stress us out now because we know we are lucky to have them. But that doesn't make them less stressful.

LOL: glad you like the book. my last therapist recommended it. she didn't work out but the book did.


by Cole Scott