Friday, March 19, 2010

oxygen masks

“Though we never anticipate a change in cabin pressure, if one occurs, oxygen masks will fall from the compartment up above. If you are traveling with a child, place the mask over yourself first, and then the child. If you are traveling with more than one child, decide which one has the most promising future and place the mask over that child first…”

Ok.
So that’s only Southwest Airlines’ version.
But you know what I’m talking about.

Ever really think about it?

Think about why you need to take even just a split second to get your mask first and THEN help those around you who need help?

It’s such an odd thing to think I would be in an emergency situation and look at my kids and NOT help them first. But regardless of how the trauma of cabin air pressure loss looked on the TV show Lost, the actual reality is without oxygen we get sleepy and then we cease to function. And if that’s the case, how much help am I to my babies? I’ve helped them breathe but odds are good in that situation…they’ll need me a bit longer than that!

And then…one day…I’m not sure when…probably in the midst of a very deep moment or perhaps I heard someone else say it…I started thinking about this on a different plane.

(pun totally intended)

I am often so focused on someone else and their needs or emergency that I willingly neglect my basic need for oxygen. And then I find myself tired, irritable, frustrated…and the truth is…I chose that! What was I thinking?

I have tried to figure this out.
This compulsion to help other people first at all costs.
For awhile now.

Is it nature or nurture?
Common trait for women raised Mormon?
Oldest Child Syndrome?

Or is it just plain human nature to want to help someone out without regard to our own plight?

That’s actually what I prefer to believe.
Mostly because when I need help I believe in humanity.
And so far…it’s pulled through.

I do think though, that the airlines have it right.
With the exception of Southwest.
(They are funny.
But they did boot my homeboy Kevin Smith.
AND I don’t want to choose a favorite kid to survive.)

I am so much more help and more useful to others around me when I take a minute to put on my own mask. Without it, I deplete my resources in a way that can even be detrimental to my loved ones. Truth is…I need that oxygen.

I need to go to the gym.
Take a walk.
Tan.
(What? I like to be brown and it makes me happy.)
I need to write in my journal.
Go to church.
And occasionally sit on the beach and just breathe.
Alone.

I feel guilty sometimes, as though taking time for myself is unacceptable, but when I look at my friends and their lives, I constantly tell them to take care of themselves first.

So I think I will take my own advice!
I’m taking 48 hours to take care of me.

And I think…
Just maybe…
I’ll enjoy it!

-McGee

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