How To Navigate This Crazy World We Live In
Chaos defined: noun. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. any confused, disorderly mass: a chaos of meaningless phrases. the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe (dictionary.com).
How many people do you know who are taking anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication(s)? Smoking pot to chill or cope? Drinking alcohol to soothe the pain? Sleeping to escape? Running from pain? Personally, most of the people I know do one or more of the above in order to deal with the complexities of the world we live in. For some, it is a life saver and for others, it’s killing them.
The flip side: how many people do you know that thrive on chaos? They gravitate toward it, create it, or wait for it to happen. I know one or two of these people and I think they know who they are.
Conflict and Chaos are not to be confused — conflict is a disagreement or argument. A state of chaos might be present if there are several arguments taking place simultaneously or if the conflict is random. I like a bit of conflict when it might get you to agreement or some resolution; chaos on the other hand makes me want to flee. I once lived in the center of chaos and not by choice. I now do whatever I can to avoid it.
How Bad Is It These Days?
We always believe things are currently worse than they were before; that’s a common misbelief. I’ve written on the “state of the world” topic before, therefore, I will leave it at this: no doubt the world is a difficult place to inhabit these days, but I would argue that it’s safer and better than it’s ever been, in most places; technology and greater wealth have made it so.
Why Are We Judged So Harshly?
Social media is not necessarily a bad thing; keeping up with friends from all over the world is one of the features I fully embrace. But in my mind, the dark side of social media is having aspects of your life displayed before strangers. With that comes jealousy, judgment, and criticism — everyone has an opinion. Unfortunately, those opinions are related to little snippets of your life; mostly aspects of your life people know nothing about.
In addition, it suddenly seems as if it’s okay to pass judgment on others. Whether it’s about a woman’s right to choose, a drag queen reading to children, the right to bear arms with or without a criminal record, how old the president might be while serving; everybody has an opinion and no one seems shy about voicing that opinion publicly.
How I Know I am Impacted By Chaos
Perhaps growing up in a totally chaotic environment with many sisters and brothers, has shown me that peace and quiet and an absence of chaos is where I prefer to be. My mother was one of those people who thrived on chaos. Living alone with my pet (Paco) provides me the peace I require. I know that it’s unrealistic to think that I can remain inside 24/7, never interacting with another individual or group. I often force myself to socialize and be a part of group interaction. When one of these groups gets rowdy, I run away. An Irish goodbye might even be necessary (leaving without telling anyone — I’ve heard it called a French goodbye as well).
I grew up in Coney Island; full of tourists and the fringes of society. When we went to the beaches, there was no space between blankets; people seemed to like it that way. No judgment at all, just a bit chaotic. As a child I shied away from crowds.
My body reacts to chaos in several ways: I become anxious. I sweat. My stomach hurts. I get a headache. Usually at least one of these symptoms is present; sometimes all.
Not everyone responds to chaos the same way, unfortunately, I become prone to accidents due to being wildly distracted and anxious.
Turn it off — We don’t always choose to be right smack in the center of insane chaos, but sometimes it just sort of happens. The easiest thing to do is to step away from it. We often have that choice and do not not exercise it.
Steer clear of chaos — easier said than done perhaps. When I lived in New York City, I noticed that there were three or four streets in Times Square that were always congested and chaotic; people who had no idea where they were going, tourists milling about, individuals trying to get tickets for this or that performance, people who love being in the middle of soup. I avoided those streets and now I couldn’t imagine being anywhere near Times Square.
Turn it into something positive — the best way to learn from a situation is to take a step back and evaluate what just occurred. Ask yourself the following questions: Did I have anything to do with the chaos I just experienced? Could it have been avoided? What steps can I take to prevent it from happening again? For example: flying on the day before a major holiday? Perhaps you might choose to fly a week before the holiday or on the actual holiday? We all know airports are chaotic the day before or a couple of days before a major holiday.
Chaotic dreams — I’ve noticed that sometimes I awake from a dream and I recall chaos in the dream I just had. I think it may be a way my psyche is coping with the chaos in my life — a way of sorting it out in my sleep, rather than working through it in reality. I’ve noticed this more at times in my life when I am dealing with several major issues all at the same time: family, financial, plans gone awry, etc.
Making My Bed Every Morning — It’s been proven that having order in your home, leads to greater order in your life. Make your bed and pick up after yourself.
A tip: One of the best tips I learned from one of Queen Elizabeth’s butlers, is to wait at least 30 minutes after getting out of bed to make the bed. We sweat at night. The moisture needs to dry before you make the bed. Trust me on this one.
“Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
In a few weeks I will be returning to Liverpool, England. Not for a Beatles tour, but to see a good friend, enjoy a diverse and cultured city, and eat ethnic (street) food. After that a brief return to Nantes and Pornic, France, Marseilles in June, and Oban, Scotland in July. I’m getting closer to my Grand tour of Dubai and four countries in Asia this October/November. It doesn’t seem to be the case, however, this year there is more time between trips and most of my journeys are shorter.
I recently booked a South Africa cruise on NCL. My college roommate and his wife will be joining me. South Africa has been on my bucket list for a long time.
My friend David (I wrote about him a few blogs ago), pastel drew Hanging Lake where we hiked in Colorado and sent this to me so that I would never forget.
The piece is lighter and more colorful than this. I took a quick photo prior to sending it off to be framed. I chose a light orange frame to pick up the gold and green tones. I’m excited to hang and admire it.