Feb 24, 2010

I Will Survive.

So what do you know about surviving? Have you ever had to survive? What does it mean to survive? Do you watch Survivor? (JK.. just had to throw that in there :) Do you have Gloria Gaynor's song "I Will Survive" memorized? :)

I have never had something major happen in my life that I could refer to in a sentence that would include the word survive. No major deaths, no major illnesses, no divorce, no getting lost in a forest, no surviving on a desert island for 56 days...... nothing. It is interesting as I get older and look around me at people and how they deal with things that I have noticed that the people I admire the most are people who have had to survive something or even lots of things. These people seem light years ahead of me in the wisdom department. So should I start wishing for a survival experience so I can grow and learn and become wise? Is it weird to say that my lack of experiences where I have had to "survive" seems to limit my ability to act like a grown up?

I am reading a book right now called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. I have read it a few times and this time I am reading it to get ready for book club in March. I thrive on these kinds of books. They fascinate me. This one has a lot of words. But if you hang in there it presents some interesting ideas about who survives and why. I mean listen to Bill McKibben's review of the book, "This book will help you should you ever find yourself pinned under a rock in a roaring white water river. But it will help you even more if you ever find yourself wondering why your brain works the way it does under the stress of everyday life. A fascinating look into why we are who we are." I know!! Are you dying to read it right now? Hurry, come over, I will make Scotcheroos and then we can sit and read it together while eating Scotcheroos :)

What does it mean to survive? The dictionary says one definition is, "to endure or live through something." One of the most fascinating ideas I have come upon so far in this book is that the reason most people can not survive something is that they can not change the map and model in their head of their world from what it once was to what it has become. The very first rule of life according to Mr. Gonzales is to "Be here now." You have to be able to face reality and not resign yourself to your fate. He tells the story of a guy who was lost and how he wandered about for 2 days looking for something familiar, reassuring himself that something he would recognize was just over the next hill. He became more and more panicked and his thoughts became less and less clear and he became more and more lost. Finally he managed to pull himself together which is what distinguished him as a survivor. He stopped looking for the environment he wished for, the environment where he recognized things, and started dealing with his real environment, he stayed put and built himself a shelter and built a fire and within three days was rescued.

Have you ever been lost? I honestly never have been lost. I always have to know where I am going when I leave my house. Map Quest and I are best friends. I can wander around looking for something if I have someone familiar with this uncomfortable, "I do not know where I am" feeling in the car with me but I would never be caught in that situation on my own. Someone once told me that their mom used to tell them you were only lost if you thought you were. Apparently that is true. "Being lost is not a location it is a transformation" it is a failure of your mind. It can happen anywhere, even in your life. Surely you know someone who is "lost?" Is it me? :)

Life is all about surviving, it's not fair and it is full of disappointment. The hardest part of being a mom is wondering if you have equipped your kids with the skills to figure out how to survive. Mr Gonzalez says in his book, "That you don't have to be an elite performer. That you don't have to be perfect. You just have to get on with it and do the next right thing." So with that I better go do the next right thing which is laundry :)


Kristy said...

Looks like a good book! I will look for it. How about that Scotcheroo recipe? Thanks much.

Rebecca S. said...

I just read The Survivors Club and it was an eye opener. It made me think about what I would do in certain situations, of course, it's okay if I never have to find out.

Annette said...

Sounds like a great book. Especially helpful as I've started, and been bored by every book I've tried for the last month. Thanks. Was so excited to see your blog. Wish I could join your book club.

Pam Mueller said...

Glad you are back!
Loved your post about driving to the airport!

TheTamFam said...

hahahahah! I LOVE your notation added to the comment box here. How's that for validation?

I was feeling homesick for good ol' bookclub with you all, so I went to the library last week and tried to find Deep Survival. They didn't have it. So I checked out the companion book, Everyday Survival, and am enjoying it.

So glad you are back in the blogging business, btw. That is your "right thing" to do, I think. Way to follow your instincts.