Everyone’s Troubles are Their Own #19 #cong23 #reality


The accident of our birth determines so much of the reality of our lives. This blog post will meander through my current reality before contrasting this with the reality that so many others are experiencing right now and finally concluding with the fact my reality is not the worst place to be right now!

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We need to do better by others

  2. We need to do better by others


  4.  I’ll leave you to work out number 4 …

About Pam O'Brien:

Pam O Brien is a lecturer, a researcher, a PhD candidate and a CoderDojo mentor, but she is also a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. All of these facets of her working and personal life make her who she is.

Contacting Pam O'Brien:

Pam can be contacted at Twitter  and LinkedIn.

By Pam O’Brien

It has taken me a while to figure out what approach to take with the theme for this year’s Congregation gathering. Reality seems so straight forward as a topic and yet, when you settle down to write about it, the words disappear. I often think back to the words of my grandmother who was prone to saying, “everyone’s troubles are their own”. As a child I never really understood what she meant by that phrase but now it makes sense, and it strikes me that the same applies to everyone’s reality. Right now, my reality is that life is busy. As a full-time lecturer working on research projects while also undertaking a PhD research study it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. I think back to when my now adult children were much younger. The reality of my life back then was a whole other level of busy, with a different set of challenges to the ones I now have.

But then I look at what is happening in the world right now and the stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed seems so trivial when I look at the reality that other people are facing. The homeless families here in Ireland living out of their car, or a hotel room if they are lucky, or something so much worse… and the reality is that nothing much changes because it’s a difficult problem to solve so we don’t really bother trying. The parents in America who send their children to school not knowing if today is the day that those children might face an ‘active shooter’ in the place where they should feel most safe … and the reality is that the right to bear arms trumps everything else so nothing much changes. The people in war torn countries who deal with the realities of war, writing their children’s names on their arms or tying string around their wrists in the hope that they might be identifiable if a bomb is dropped on where they are or the mothers and fathers splitting up families to try to increase their chances of at least some members of their families surviving … and the reality is that the other side’s right to protect themselves trumps all else, so the war rages on, while for the most part, the rest of the world sits on their hands and watches the slaughter of innocent people.

So, I look again at my reality and am thankful for it because I’m so very lucky because I don’t live in fear, I have a roof over my head, a warm comfortable bed, food on the table and the means to do most things I want to do without too much difficulty. That hasn’t always been the case. Like so many others who grew up in a large family in working class Ireland in the 70s there wasn’t much to go around. But through the sacrifices of my parents, and especially my mam, I have got opportunities that they never had. I have a good work ethic, something else that I was lucky enough to see in action from my parents, and so I have always tried to make the most of those opportunities. So, while my reality is a pretty good place to be right now despite the challenges, that is in no small part due to the accident of my birth. Had I been born in the US, Ukraine or Palestine or in so many other places, or indeed into a different family, my daily reality could be so different. And that for me is a very sobering thought …

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