So…How Are You?

“Plugging along.”
“About as well as I can be.”
“Chugging along.”
“Just fine, which is all about any of us can ask.”

These words come out of my mouth repeatedly. Perhaps you find yourself giving the same responses.

To tell you the truth, that really is where I am. I’m…okay, I guess. I’m doing fine, which is perhaps the best I can do.

Enter a dear writing colleague, Fran, and her keenly insightful writing on what it means to thrive. Please, please, please go and read her work.

(You’re welcome.)

Like any powerful writer has the ability to do, she left me with more questions than answers. She left me with wisdom and a new perspective on how we as humans always need to grow. But she also left me in the discomfort that perhaps there is something not-quite-right about what I’m currently asking out of life right now.

The answer is no. I am not thriving right now. I can’t think of one part of my life I’d characterize as “thriving.” Growing, yes. Changing, evolving? Absolutely. But these movements run deep and pace themselves slowly. To me, thriving suggests a bursting forth, a positive leap ahead.

The more I think about it, though, there may be another dimension to my own current “failure to thrive,” something I haven’t yet fully explored:

I’m not thriving right now because I don’t feel it’s fair.

Too many among us are living the worst of their fears, their traumas, their loneliness, their poverty, their inhumane treatment, their grief. I don’t feel right claiming to thrive during a period so marked by pain and suffering.

So many people need more from this world right now. And to me, working past survival and into “thrive” mode makes me feel I am demanding more than my share.

I’m sure there’s more to explore here. There’s something to be said about claiming our space in this world, about sitting in the discomfort of our growth, and about giving ourselves permission to be the most of who we are regardless of circumstance.

For now, though, I will take my somehow-getting-along-okay and my slow, deep sea changes, and I will wear them proudly. I’ll just…keep…plugging along.

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3 Responses to “So…How Are You?”

  1. Fran Haley Says:

    I love your honesty, Lainie – you always write “true” and it rings real. I love how you examine the meaning of “thriving” in your own life and in relation to the times, even to asking if it is demanding more than your share. After reading your post I am thinking of being in a state of disequilibrium, how people seek to restore equilibrium… sometimes I wonder if it is possible. Can full equilibrium ever return when losses and suffering has been so great, to which you allude? It’s a lot to ponder … but these lines “There’s something to be said about claiming our space in this world, about sitting in the discomfort of our growth, and about giving ourselves permission to be the most of who we are regardless of circumstance…” – they’re glorious. At the heart of my own exploration was that we – humanity – cannot survive, let alone thrive, without each other. We must remember. I am honored and humbled by your words; you keep the wheels of ideas turning, my writerly friend!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      You know, I was thinking a lot about this today, especially about the idea of disequilibrium. Ever hear of those bosu balls? The half-sphere balance equipment you find in some gyms? Feeling lately like life has been me on a bosu ball – feet planted, knees soft, core activated, ready to absorb the next wave – from whatever direction it happens to come…

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