By Sadie Hess
As I write this, I see a sepia sky outside my window. The whole atmosphere is an eerie orange color as fires rip apart the West Coast. They are calling this fire season unprecedented and historic: words currently losing all meaning! My sister-in-law recently graduated from UC Davis on a Zoom call. They made the words unprecedented and pandemic a drinking game. Needless to say, each graduate drank their fair share that day.
Some days it feels like we are freefalling from one disaster to the next. Each day holds uncertainty and demonstrates a world we cannot predict or control. Like most of you, I fight to stay positive, hopeful and present.
I was wired to fight. I was born to battle for causes and people that no one else sees or wants to defend. But how do we combat a virus? A wildfire? Injustice? How do we find a new normal in a world that is upside down, backwards and frightening?
I don’t have brilliant or unprecedented answers (see what I did there?). I only have what I set out to do every other previous day. Fight to control what I can control. In our Fish Philosophy, we say “Play, Make their day, Choose your Attitude, and Be There.” For those of you unfamiliar, Fish Philosophy comes out of a Seattle fish company. Here, their employees deal with dead, cold fish all day, but have discovered they are the deciders of their job satisfaction and overall experience, not the fish. Effectively, I have the ability and duty to control me. Every day and in every changing situation, I make a conscious and brave decision to regulate my response to the fearsome world around me.
Here is my resolve:
I decide to Play: I will smile when I see someone smiling, but more than that, I will endeavor to make others smile. I will engage in hope, love and joy regardless of the circumstances.
I elect to Make Other’s Day. I will find ways to be generous of spirit and thought. I will say thank you and please. I will find a way to go out of my way to be helpful and kind.
I Choose my Attitude despite the circumstances. I remember the locust of control over my attitude is mine and I can use it for good or evil.
I resolve to Be There. I won’t “check out” because it is hard or uncomfortable. I won’t look for ways to be selfish but be selfless.
So, because my battle is with me, my new normal remains my old normal. My fight remains the same: to be the best me, no matter what I face or what circumstances come my way. Our Fish philosophy is four different ways for me to manage my response to the world, not control it. The wildfires, pandemics and injustice only tell me how hard I need to fight to be my best me.