I put my phone down in anger. I find anymore that one quick scroll or skim of social media or the day’s news headlines can bring on the bitter taste of anger and sadness. I get frustrated that others can be so close-minded and selfish.
I was still seething with anger when my wife, sitting across the table from me, dialed our son’s phone number to check up on him. He enlisted last year in the U.S. Marine Corps and we try to chat with him whenever we can. He picked up on the first ring, excited to talk with us.
In particular, we wanted to see how he was dealing with COVID-19. He’s been on the go for the last few months and we wanted to see how he was spending his weekend. We could tell right away that he was tired, but seemed to be in good spirits.
When we asked how he was handling COVID, he simply said he was fine and that “it is what it is.” When he was a kid, something as small as getting pushed off his goal or not getting what he wanted, might have been debilitating.
Now he was dealing with major life challenges and he didn’t even bat an eye.
When we asked about his upcoming week, he told us about a long hike and a few other strenuous activities his unit had planned. When we again asked how he was handling it, he gave us the same stoic response: “It is what it is.”
When we got off the phone, I thought more about what was bothering me, the social media comments; a project due at work; other’s gossip and backbiting. My concerns and a few other worries bubbling just below the surface were concerning, but maybe, just maybe, my son had the right idea:
“It is what it is.”
From the mouth of babes. A few related blogs:
—Who put me in charge of these kids?
I thought more about the advice. I can’t force people to change. I can’t control their actions or their thoughts. I can’t make them do what I want them to do. All I can do is keep pushing forward, stay on my own path, and not worry about anyone else.
I noticed that the more I took my son’s advice to heart, my breathing slowed, my anger subsided, and my outlook brightened.
In addition, I noticed once again that “the master” has become the student. When I look back on the important lessons I’ve learned over the past several years, I find that I’m learning more and more from my three mostly grown kids than anyone else. They continue to teach me what it means to be a good person; to challenge yourself; to pick yourself up after failing and to try again; and to be of value and make something of yourself.
And my response: “It is what it is.”