Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

"Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First"

 The logic of this advice given by most airlines makes sense. You cannot help your child get her oxygen mask on if you are gasping for breath yourself.

Yet how often do we ignore this idea in our own lives? I am guilty. I have spent many years giving everyone else the oxygen they need, little recognizing my own blueness of face and gasps for air.

Yesterday, as Nathan and I took a walk in nature lit by moonlight, we talked about the future and what this upcoming move meant for us as a family and for me as an individual. We had just finished watching Crazy, Stupid, Love which, while fun and funny, also hit a few nerves in some ways. The fact that this couple going through a mid-life crisis of sorts were supposedly only a year older than I am, shook me up in many ways.

After all, I've sort of been going through my own  crisis for a while now.

As we walked, I realized that my choice to continually give my family oxygen first has ultimately served no purpose. It has been a crutch of sorts. My responsibilities to family are a convenient excuse for not taking chances or opportunities that come my way. If I start putting myself and my needs first, one of a few things might happen:
  • Option 1: I could take chances and then fail in a blazing crash of destruction, without anybody to hide behind or anyone to blame but myself.
  • Option 2: I could succeed and become completely engrossed in my own world to the neglect everyone else.
  • Option 3: I could take chances, find balance, and show my daughter that a woman can follow her dreams and still be there for the people she loves.
I'm choosing Option 3. By not giving myself oxygen first, I haven't been doing what is best for all of us. I'm not saying every choice I have made is wrong, but I have not been living to my full potential--and ultimately that isn't good for anybody.

Yesterday, Sarah told me over ice cream that she wants to spend the whole summer at this "summer home" next year. She and I came up about 6 weeks after Nathan this time, partially so she could be in a show and partially because I had several projects that I was working on (some actually paid).

"It's more fun if we come for the whole time," she said.

"Well," I answered "It depends on if I have work or not. I have the right to work too. But you could always come up with Daddy first, and then I will join you later."

She looked sad for a moment and then said, "I understand. But what if you get hired here?"

I smiled, "Then that would solve the problem, wouldn't it?"

I'm interested in seeing where my new take on oxygen leads me. Perhaps it will simply lead me to some new, fresh air. I just have to remember to breathe.


Today's Quote

"Self-worth comes from one thing - thinking that you are worthy." Wayne Dyer