Tomorrow may not be better, but different

Published 7:33 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

Last week, Elmo that red, furry 3-year-old Muppet from Sesame Street, sent out a tweet that said “Elmo is just checking in!  How is everybody doing?”  The response to Elmo’s tweet was overwhelming, eliciting nearly 200 million views.  That really resonated with me.  A Muppet casually asks how we’re doing, and the response was phenomenal.   

Our country, our world is filled with so many who are hurting, overwhelmed, burdened, and troubled that little Elmo really struck a chord with so many people of all ages, from all backgrounds.  Obviously, there are many, many fragile humans who are trying to navigate their lives and the many challenges we all face day to day.  

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Some are young pre-teens who are trying to figure out how to shape their lives.  They may have behavioral challenges, acting out and not having or knowing how to deal with their emotions and responses to day-to-day occurrences.  Then there are teens who are very self-conscious, moody, and often defiant.  And college students are trying to do it all.  They have social pressures, academic challenges, and likely the on-again, off-again conflict with parents and peers.   

And we adults of all ages are dealing with career challenges, financial problems, health issues, and a myriad of other worries and all other kinds of daily tests to one’s psyche.  We are as a population one unhealthy mental health mess!  Why?  Because there are so many things over which we have no control.  War looms large, crime is out of control, and there is so much negativity.  The list goes on and on.  

We often greet one another with “How ya’ doing?”  The answer is almost always, “Fine.  How are you?”  The exchange is not totally without concern for your friend, acquaintance, or perhaps a sort of greeting when encountering a stranger.  We can usually gauge our friend’s demeanor if they are truly struggling with something, but often we cannot.  The veil is often drawn, not to reveal the turmoil of the moment.  And perhaps it is only the moment.  

Many of our challenges can be corrected in a lesser amount of time than the problem would seem to call for.  However, some cannot.  They weigh heavily on us.  What coping skills do we have to address these issues?  When I feel overwhelmed, often a good cry helps.  Sometimes talking to a trusted friend is really good therapy.  Some say exercise helps break the spell and restore a healthier outlook.  There’s the screaming and yelling into a pillow approach.  The sound is muffled, but you might wind up with a sore throat.  Listening to music helps bring you to a better place.  And certainly, spending time with a pet and confiding your miseries to that beloved companion helps immensely.

I’m certainly no psychologist, but I know that there are many who are hurting and may not feel there’s a solution to what is overwhelming them.  But tomorrow will likely be different, a new day.  Not always 100 percent better, but different so that it allows us to rebuild our coffer of hopefulness. And we desperately need to remind ourselves that our bad feelings of sadness, anger, rejection, regret, and bitterness will change, often in short order.  

So, be like Elmo.  Do a check-in with your family, friends, and yes, even strangers and ask, “How is everybody doing?”