Sunday, September 3, 2017

Resilience and our relationship to time

You can blame a musical for this post. :)

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to see Annie on the stage. I was also a big fan of the movie that came out in 1982, with Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnett, and Albert Finney. I loved the music and the story SO MUCH: an orphan girl never gives up hope that her parents love her and will come back for her some day. She truly believes her circumstances to be temporary, and refuses to be broken by the world around her.

Fast forward thirty-(mumblety) years: I hadn't really thought about Annie much. But seeing a production of Annie at my local community theatre this past weekend, it was as if I was seeing it for the first time again! I was once again struck by Annie's resilience in the face of grim surroundings, both in the orphanage and on the streets of depression-era NYC. Indeed, she sings:

When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely,
I just stick out my chin and grin, and say...Oh!
The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on 'til tomorrow
Come what may...

It reminded me of something I always say to myself when I'm going through a rough time: "This moment--this one RIGHT NOW--is temporary. Just hang on and it'll be over eventually."

I often see advice to live in the "moment", and in the "now", and that is certainly a valid worldview. My "this moment is just temporary" pep-talk IS a version of that, I guess. But I guess it is also true that if the "moment" or the "now" really stinks, we can look to the future to get us through it. These things are not mutually exclusive.

Additionally, I had a reminder not to dwell on the past, which is something I sometimes get stuck doing. During last night's performance, I heard another lyric that I hadn't really noticed before. Annie and Daddy Warbucks were singing "I Don't Need Anything But You," and there's a lyric that goes:

Yesterday was plain awful
But that's not now
That's then...

(Note to self: don't dwell, Beth!)

So, in just one musical, I've had three lessons about our relationship to time as it relates to resilience:
  1. PAST: keep it there
  2. NOW: is temporary
  3. FUTURE: look forward to it 
Gee, thanks, Annie, for making me think about some of the building blocks for developing resilience through our attitude about time.

And I do believe that while for some, resilience may be innate, for most of us, it's a skill that can be learned and developed. I'm filing under "life skills."

Anyway, I'll be over here, belting out show tunes around the house til my husband tells me he's sick of 'em. ;)

How do you view time when getting through the tough stuff? Does how you relate to time contribute to your own resilience? Feel free to comment below!

PS - a HUGE shout-out to my local community theatre, Palisade Playhouse, for their superb rendition of Annie. Please visit their site, and consider giving their Facebook page a "like" to stay up to date on events. I am so grateful to Matt and Michelle Belliston for bringing quality community theatre to my little neck of the woods.

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