I’m tired y’all. I am tired of the hatefulness, divisiveness, rudeness, mask or no mask, vaccinate or no vaccinate, the “I know I’m right so you must be stupid” attitudes. I am so tired of it all.
This past year has been hard on all of us. I take pride in my ability to be resilient and have a glass half-full mentality but I’m tired. I worry about family, friends, coworkers, my 4-H and all youth, and our communities, and it is exhausting.
One of the things that I do appreciate of the past year is the frequency with which I see reminders about mental health resources. Ongoing stresses can springboard a whole new level of depression, anxiety, fear, and frustrations. Reaching out for assistance can be the hardest but most important step in finding a path to understanding and working through all the stuff that can overwhelm us. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else; if you are feeling overwhelmed, it is very real! Reach out to a school counselor or adviser; reach out to your pastor, reach out to a good friend, reach out to professional resources.
As a friend, you don’t need to solve someone else’s problem, just be there to listen or sit through the moment. One of my favorite memes features Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
“Today was a Difficult Day,” said Pooh
There was a pause.
“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Piglet.
“No,” said Pooh after a bit. “No, I don’t think I do.”
“That’s okay,” said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend.
“What are you doing?” asked Pooh.
“Nothing, really,” said Piglet. “Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don’t feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days, either.”
“But goodness,” continued Piglet, “Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you’ve got someone there for you. And I’ll always be here for you, Pooh.”
And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs ... he thought that his best friend had never been more right.
We can all make a difference in someone’s life. It can be as simple as holding a door, supporting a friend as they seek professional resources, performing a random act of kindness, or just sitting with someone as they work through their Difficult Day.
One of my favorite things as a 4-H agent is when a young person asks, “Do you have a minute?” and I realize that maybe I’m not so tired after all.
Keep learning. Keep showing grace and kindness.
Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office. For more information on this article or other 4-H Youth and Development related questions email Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-793-1910.