This Friday I will address a group of high school seniors about stress management. It’s an interesting challenge for me and one I’ve been thinking about all week. As I look back to my own senior year in high school, it stands out as one of the most stressful periods of my life.At that time I had virtually no ability to tolerate the unknown. I didn’t know where I would go to college, or even where to apply. I didn’t know what part of the country I wanted to live in, what I wanted to study, or what I wanted to do when I ‘grew up.’ My life felt like one overwhelming question mark, which completely freaked me out.The obvious message that I could convey to these seniors is that life eventually works out … endings lead to beginnings … and then they end too, leading to more beginnings. You live into the answers … jobs, moves, friends, marriages, births, deaths … all coming and going. But I think there’s a deeper message to share as well, one that shifts the emphasis from ‘outer’ peace (situations working out one way or another) to ‘inner’ peace (accepting the mysteries).In fact, as I approach being a senior again, senior citizen that is (… well, not just yet, but it’s coming …), I guess I’d like to hear the same message to myself. When the inevitable questions arise – Can I afford to retire? If so, what will I do with my time? Will I live near grandchildren? – I want to be able to breathe deeply and trust the unfolding of life. True ‘stress management’ isn’t about having a detailed map of the journey, it’s about relaxing even when you don’t know the way. I wish this inner peace for all the seniors of the present and the future.
- Dog Gone