We sometimes think that all or nothing thinking is the purview of the young.  That only the teens and 20 somethings see the world in black or white and make all or nothing decisions.  But apocalyptic thinking comes in all age groups, seeing only one way out happens to all of us at some point, and going straight to the absurdly worst case scenario is just plain human.

The thing we learn about this is that, outside epic sagas, none of these are more than a small fraction of reality, if that.  Most scenarios never fall into “worst case.”  Not saying that some don’t and that we aren’t alerted to every small wisp of those because of their media value, which makes they seem less rare than they actually are.  Most situations aren’t black and white, most actions require less than everything we’ve got, and most dreams don’t require us to shed everything we are in order to achieve them.  Life is more complicated, multifaceted, and rich than that.

I have friends who have made the dramatic gesture.  They have sold everything they own, moved to new areas or countries, set themselves up in a life that was perfect for them, only to find that they are immediately faced, not with success and honor and glory and happily ever after, but themselves.  Just like they were before.  In fact, now with things pared down, nothing to distract them, and everything they’ve ever wanted before them, they are clearly and loudly confronted with their own issues and required to make new choices.  Some of them found that their dream life was nothing like what they thought it would be and was just as full of problems.  It’s just that the problems were different and in the end they were worse than what existed in the previous situation.  Some of them found that the minute they left to pursue their dream, which was purely for them and disconnected from everyone they had known, people they loved got into situations where they needed help.  So a really difficult situation then arises, do I live my life disconnected or do I go back and reconnect.  For the sake of the grandchildren they went back.

Just to be clear, what I’m describing isn’t the same as breaking away from a bad situation to start living the life each of us deserves.  Although the transition process, the learning curve, and the becoming are similar.  What I’m pointing out is that seeing the apocalypse, I can only be loved if I stay where I am, I can only have my own life if I leave everyone completely behind, I can only have what I want if I give up everything else, is not seeing the truth.  It’s looking at the world through fear goggles.  Fear makes the apocalypse seem to happen in every action and every choice.  It strips the color out of everything and leaves it all ash.  So if you get into that state of all or nothing, just stop.  Before you can do anything you need to calm down and get the fear goggles off.  Then you can see that it’s spring and either the flowers are blooming for you or you need to go out and shovel that #@#@)&#(&$$& sidewalk again.