For decades, I have been absolutely certain of one personal goal: I want to help people. For much of that time, the people I was helping were my own little people. Now that they need my help less and less, I get to select who I will help next.
My biggest idea was to find a way to support moms. I imagined a huge haunted house on the water which I could transform into a refuge for wayward moms.
I volunteered to help at a facility for moms re-entering the workforce and they never called me back. This was no surprise. I’m not qualified to teach anything or mentor or counsel, of course. I just want to help, which is both nice and useless from their point of view.
Occasionally, wayward college students wash up at my house and I feel a surge of satisfaction at having a refuge to offer. THIS. This is very close to my Big Idea.
Most recently, we have had a cluster of crises and I found myself uncomfortably placed as a hub to several people who needed me at the very same time. I learned two things. I have motherhood PTSD and while I want to help people, I also want to help people on my own schedule. I do not want to lose sleep to help people or have to scramble a well-planned day to help people.
Maybe I learned three things: my urge to rescue people is an old adaptation that isn’t necessarily any indication that I am good at rescuing people. Maybe I’m like that dude who puts the tourniquet on the wrong side of the wound and still feels proud of the effort.
Moms are crazy and their problems are also crazy. Maybe I should do something completely different with my helping energy. Can I find a way to help that is sane for everyone involved? This is one of the questions I am mulling in base camp.
In base camp, the first priority is: get sane. Then you can ask the sane version of yourself what’s next.
Base camp is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a site for nurture and rest and preparation. Sharpen the skis or whatever you are supposed to sharpen in base camp. Don’t forget where you are and have an accidental adventure. Don’t start a restrictive diet and pick a fight, just assemble the tools and check your maps. Keep an eye on the weather and evaluate your socks like they matter.
So far this is going really well!! I am firmly working on sanity and only occasionally getting swept into the spin cycle of fixing, fixing, fixing things.
Heading up the mountain can wait.
More free copies of UHOOB are shipping out to patient readers. Enjoy!! If not, it burns well, I’m sure!!