Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Take my word for it: How do we do it?

From page A4 | November 06, 2013 | 3 Comments

In passing, someone asked me recently, “How do we do it?” When I gave her a puzzled look, she said, “How do we do what we do? How does everyone do what they do?”

She was referring to surviving, getting through life one day at a time. Most of us have stressful jobs and we wonder how we get through the day sometimes, but before I could answer and expand on that sentiment, she said something that really put all that complaining I like to do about difficult things in my life in perspective. She reflected upon her own statement, sighed, and then said, “We all like to think we’re alone in this, but we’re like a big viking ship and everyone has an oar.”

Wow. I never really thought about it that way. I’m always focusing on how someone else got a leg up on life that I didn’t, how I’m fighting a battle no one else on earth could possibly understand. But I couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not alone, and neither are you.

We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We all feel joy and pain at what life throws us. And somehow, we all contribute to our families and society in some way to make our lives, and in turn the lives of our fellow man, a little better each day. So why do we often feel so alone?

We don’t tend to look at life like we’re all one big unit, sadly. Whether it’s the city we live in, county, state or country, we don’t think of the effect we’re having on everyone else. We instead focus on our day-to-day lives as if we live in a vacuum, when in reality we’re so far from it. We’re a part of something big, small societies within a big one, all with different rules and personalities driving them.

We are all important pieces to a machine, one where our roles are crucial for it to run, but with parts that are completely replaceable. That thought can be both inspiring and humbling at times. This machine doesn’t just run the workplace. It runs our interactions with everyone in our lives, from co-workers to family, friends and even strangers we meet between. How we act at home behind closed doors can be a direct result of what kind of day we had at work, or something that happened to us on our way home. It shouldn’t, but we’re human, and leaving the stresses of our non-home lives outside our front door can be seemingly impossible.

Stack that with the machine, no matter how well-oiled, not providing us comfort when we’re stressed out about our individual bills, our lack of free time or our never-ending effort to make other people happy. No matter who we’re surrounded by, at some point we all feel alone, and we all wonder how we’ll get through another day.

But then we do, and it’s not that difficult. We realize that while life is tough, we’re capable of conquering it every single day, no matter what it throws at us. We run into people who actively make an effort to make our day better like we’ve been trying to do for everyone else, and we realize that this machine we’re all a part of is really what’s keeping us individually from falling apart.

We may always have our own stresses in which we think no one else can relate. But so will everyone else. And knowing they can still put one foot in front of the other each day means we can too. We can stay driven just knowing that everyone else has their oars too, and are rowing that viking ship right alongside us.

So, to answer her first question, “How do we do it,” I can only think of one way: Together.

Patrick Ibarra is the managing editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.

Patrick Ibarra


Discussion | 3 comments

  • MichaelNovember 06, 2013 - 7:29 am

    The many spokes of a wheel make it strong and capable together. Thank you Patrick!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • freemasonNovember 06, 2013 - 7:36 am

    And a chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PatriceNovember 06, 2013 - 8:37 am

    Heartfelt, and we are never given more than we can handle. Thank you, Mr. Ibarra.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 73 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3



My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 24 Comments

Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 20 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments



Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7



4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5



Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8