Nobody has to tell a Long Islander that he faces stress each day. Life here is busy, crowded, rushed. We are overworked, underpaid, and coping with high prices and taxes. Long Island has a high cancer rate as compared to other areas in the country. Every corner has an MRI center. We see more of those than we do of 7-11s.
We are so busy that we don't even know that we are stressed. We have become numb. Situations present themselves, seemingly endlessly, and we tackle each and every one of them. We must. That's all we know how to do. Our children must be fed. Homes paid for. College planned for. Weddings booked. Games to go to. Kids to carpool. Work. Life. Road rage. Parking lot fights. On and on. You get the point.
Because we've become numb to the outside stressors, we forget that they are happening, and more significantly, we hardly notice the effect that they have on us. We barely have time to consider the possibility that we can live differently. I don't mean leave. Quit. Pack up and go. Not a chance.
Long Island has a wealth of beauty, technology, stores, restaurants, schools, events. We're as close to New York City as we want to be. We hop on the LIRR and off we go. Or not. It's up to us. Whale-watching today and the opera tomorrow? Pretty good range of choices. From Sands Point to Rocky Point, Sound Beach to Long Beach, Long Islanders have a blend unique in the world. We can eat fine food from any country. Go to a rodeo. Cross-country ski. See the most beautiful estates and mansions. Do we even know that some of the wealthiest people in the world have a home here? Who cares? We're busy.
When Long Islanders go on vacation, they can't believe that they can't get a bagel! Where are the hot dogs? How on earth can they put mayonnaise on pastrami? We're spoiled and we don't know that either.
The little joys and perks of living here go as unnoticed as do the stresses. When was the last time you went to the Planting Fields? The Bailey Arboretum? The lighthouse at Montauk? The Japanese Stroll Garden? When was the last time you did nothing but enjoy who you are, where you live, and what you truly have in your life? Do you know how rich you really are? Do you remember what is really valuable and precious to you?
That's the reason for this community of people. We call it stress reduction because that's where it starts. Perhaps, later, we'll call it Enjoying Life Just Because We're Living It. But, for now, we've got to become aware of, and develop the tools to deal with, the stress that is all around us.
I'll try to provide you with information that you can use as you see fit. Try things. Throw out what doesn't work. Keep what does. I'll let you know about places here on the Island that offer training, classes, retreats, workshops, massage, healing and coping techniques. I'll talk about books and tapes. Tell you about some nifty stores here on the Island. I'll give you links to sites online.
Here's what you have to do: Be open-minded. Don't pre-judge. Don't decide that something isn't for you without knowing much about it. Don't think that you're too old, or too young, too fat or too thin, too weak, too sick, too cool or slick or professional, whatever. Take each article here and treat it as if you could benefit from it. Start positive and see what happens. Here's the worst that can happen. Absolutely nothing.
And... write back. Ask questions and give us your feedback. This will work for us a community if we BECOME a community. It's not about me and what I write here. It's about you and how you learn and grow. Share that learning. A question or a story - a life experience. Know that there are people out here just like you. Don't just read the site. Use the site.
So much for the first time. I'll be back soon.