You can call it an escape hatch, safety valve, relief switch, or emergency stop button.
When something stops or freezes, we re-boot. We unplug, re-start, toggle that on-off switch as if that action might change anything. Or everything.
In ‘normal times’* I think everyone has their own way of letting off steam – going to the gym, driving fast, arguing with a friend, squabbling over picayune impertinences. Getting things out of our system, or working out with a punching bag – with any punching bag in real or metaphorical terms.
Like most people, I tend to turn these feelings inward more often than outward.
Neither way brings joy.
But we have to do it somehow, to clear the mud from the windshield, to see as clearly as we can – which way to turn, who to turn to and recognize when to run away as fast as possible.
This is true for situations, for people, for the grime on that window in need of washing – we cannot sit still, be steady, or work through our day unless we deal with that item, that issue, that situation – we need some resolution of it before we can move on to the next thing …
I’ve had moments where I silently scream inside, “I’m getting too old for this!”
And then I realize it is for these reasons I’ve gotten old.
It is time, now, at this point in my life. I am exactly the right age, stage, and place to deal with yesterday’s angst, today’s problem, and tomorrow’s opportunity. Sometimes that means rehashing everything, changing everything – and sometimes it’s a matter of being transparent, firm, and immovable.
*I use this term, normal times, with some trepidation – in part because it has always been a vacuous set of words, but now it seems more ludicrous than ever, when normal is no longer normal when times that used to mean the year, the decade, or the season that now seems to be ‘these times’ as if one day centuries from now we will be just a layer of silt in some canyon – described as ‘2020 Pandemic times’ – some niche on the landscape where both our past and our expectations are laid to rest, a footnote in history books for a bookless future