Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm fine

How am I doing? Fine, thanks. And you?

I have had dealings with people who experimented with always giving an honest answer to the question "How are you?". And sometimes giving a totally honest answer is the right thing to do. If someone close to you asks, sometimes it's OK to blurt out "Terrible. Just shoot me now!" Or burst into tears.

But, sometimes, lying is the best response. When things are rough all around; when everyone is doing their best to keep their heads above water; and when no one has the energy to do much beyond look after themselves, saying we're fine is something more than just a statement that is semantically untrue.

In that context, "I'm fine" means: don't worry about me. No, seriously, don't worry. You know what I'm dealing with. You can see me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to cope, eyeballs rolling in two opposite directions. I know that you know that I'm less than perfectly fine. But I also see your struggle. I know that you're waiting for biopsy results. Or: I know that your husband just lost his job. Or: I know that your child is struggling in school and you don't know how to help her. So don't worry about me. The least I can do is not increase your burden by crying on your shoulder.

There is a time for sharing. I do believe that people who are friends, family, and even people who work closely with one another should be aware of the ups and downs of each others' lives. We do need to know what's going on. But once the news has been shared, other than updates here and there, we all have to pick our chins up off the ground and keep going. Most of the time, we have to be fine. "Being fine" is really being brave.

A lot of people I know are being brave right now. Ken, under tremendous stress from work responsibilities and long hours, is miraculously keeping it together. He's tired, but he always has a smile and hug for me at the end of the day.

People I work with are going through all sorts of turmoil with sick family members, personal injuries, financial troubles, etc. But mostly, we're fine. There's only one person here taking out her frustrations on everyone around her. It's amazing the damage that one person can do with a few harsh words and well-timed, contemptuous eye-rolls.

So, how am I?

The computer upgrades I worked so hard on have landed very ungracefully. I spent three full days running around troubleshooting for frustrated co-workers, and the best solution in the end is decidedly imperfect. I'm disappointed that this big project, which I had such high hopes for, has been a flop.

I'm watching my husband suffer with stress and burnout, which makes me feel helpless because I can only offer limited assistance.

I'm worried about all the people I work with who are troubled by health problems, dying loved ones, and other problems. I'm worried about them for their sakes, and I'm also worried about how it would impact me if they had to take extended time off.

I'm working like crazy trying to keep up with all my responsibilities, including preparing to relocate our entire business, which is a huge job.

But I'm fine. If you ask me, I'll probably tell you I'm fine, and even smile for you. Not in a sarcastic way. In a loving, caring way. If I can't do that, I'll make a joke about how I'm losing my mind, and hopefully it'll at least make you laugh. Because we all need to laugh.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

{{HUGS}} Glad your "fine" but have a hug anyway. Me? Oh I'm fine....

Anonymous said...

how am I you ask?
i'm awesome

DarcsFalcon said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, sweetie. Me and "Fine" go way, way back.

I'm glad you're fine, and wish you were great. I once ran into a checkout guy at the grocery store who had a great greeting. He'd ask his customers how they were, they'd say, "Fine thanks, and how are you?" Every time I saw him he'd reply with, "Outstanding!"

Outstanding is good, and hopefully one of these days soon we'll both be there. :) In the meantime, *hugs*. I know how fine is.

LL Cool Joe said...

It's tough putting on a brave face all the time.

It actually really bugs me when people ask me how I am, because they really don't want to know the answer.

You need some new shoes I think. ;)

G said...

When people ask how I'm doing, unless they're friends, family or co-workers, I tell them "I'm fine."

If they're friends, family or co-workers, then they get my sarcastic "just dandy".

Either way, life goes on, and you try to do the best you can do without pulling your hair out with tweezers.

Ily said...

Even with my husband out of a job and not knowing what the future will hold I'm grateful for today...and we never know what's going to happen tomorrow, so there's no sense in worrying.

As for telling people exactly how I feel when I feel it, well, that wouldn't always be smart...but with good friends I tend to open up more. We all need to vent about something (hopefully something new). I'm not a fan of wallowing in the same problem or hearing someone else's constant whining about the same old stuff.

Hope you have a great weekend, my friend!

Jenski, PhD said...

Very true. I figure if whatever is going on can be attributed to what you would normally expect from life, then it's "fine".

powdergirl said...

Yup, "I'm fine" is often just the best answer.

This is the 3rd time I've tried to comment here... but that 'fine' really...

Here goes, we'll see if it posts.