Monday, December 22, 2014

The finite pool: I stopped being a mesquite hugger recently...

...for a little while.

"Finite pool of worry" - that phrase showed up in an MH blog post recently and its truth and application has haunted me since.

Around noon on December 8, my mother phoned and told me that my older brother had died (unexpectedly) in his sleep. At that moment I stopped being my mesquite-hugging self. My finite pool of worry flooded everything in its path.

The finite pool idea is actually very simple - a given person has the capacity to worry about a limited number of things - when that given number is exceeded, things fall off the list or the person has (in antiquated terms) a nervous breakdown.

Want to learn more about the pool? Click here: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions

So, for several days, I quit worrying about clean water, fracking contamination, coal-based pollution, fossil fuel pollution, climate change, and the futility of giving a damn about sustaining a liveable planet when most of my neighbors will not let such worries enter their finite pools.


People brought plastic cups, styrofoam plates, and disposable everythings over to comfort my family in our time of grief, and I hardly raised an eyebrow. My pool was filled with the the three most important women in my life, an autistic six-year-old, and the gaping hole where my older brother had been. There was grief. There was the need to rearrange our lives and to find a way to care for the people around me while keeping them from hurting each other in their grief.

Lots of recyclables went into the dumpster. Lots of unnecessary trips were taken. A neighbor was kind enough to buy my mother a new Keurig coffeemaker. But my pool was still overflowing and there was no room to protest.

My pool is still overflowing. I nearly had a breakdown in Target yesterday when I saw a display of Dallas Cowboys stuff - I always bought my older brother a Cowboys shirt for Christmas. My new list of worries has had me pondering what needs to go, and this blog has been close to the list. My green projects have been on the list too. Electric scooters and aquaponic greenhouses take time and money that won't be available, and the desire to pursue those will just lead to frustration.

But being a mesquite hugger is back in the pool. I am ready to give a damn again. I am ready to keep learning and writing and striving for betterment. And I would like the opportunity to share those things with you.

May you swim strongly regardless of what is in your pool.