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Grace Under Pressure
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I have several friends who are in their 80's and 90's. I often admire how they cope so well with stress, and how they are able to rise to the occasion when called upon.

So I've been talking to them. How do they do it?

One friend, Chuck, said that he reminds himself before he gets up to speak that he's spoken to groups before, about various topics, and he can do it again. He says it's unimportant in the big scheme of things; it's just a speech after all, and 10 years from now no one--including himself--will remember much of what he said.

Another, Ruth, says that when life seems to be spiralling out of control, she purposefully and consciously reminds herself of what's important in her life, about the many people she cherishes and who love her in return. Much like Jackie, who turns to prayer when being crunched from all sides.

Louise, who has become very infirm and is facing end of life issues, thinks of her now-deceased husband and how he faced the end with grace and fortitude, and her parents, too, who were strong and resourceful. She says that thinking of them helps her face unpleasant and invasive procedures and cope with her failing body.

Fran tells me that she thinks about the big picture. Everyone was born; everyone dies eventually, sooner or later. It gets her away from the "why me?" mentality and helps her stay connected to the world.

She also says that compared to a nuclear holocaust or global pandemic, the problem she's dealing with now is miniscule.

For myself, I remind myself that I have dealt with horrible situations in the past and not only survived but thrived. If I did it once, I can do it again (and I get by with a little help from my friends).

In that spirit, let me say that I cherish your comments and your frienship. There are many ways of being connected, and this is one of the best.

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