It’s boring to write about being bummed out, so I usually don’t. There was a time when if I had a cold, or felt blue, I’d write several posts on it. These days, I’m too busy, and also, significantly less interested in myself. But I’ll mention this because I think it’s worth mentioning.
The other day I woke up happy.
There’s been a long bad stretch in Smashland. It started with my cousin and continued through the winter and a billion other things of significantly less importance. I began to worry, as you always do, that I would never come out of it.
The good thing about getting older is that you remember having gone through bad stretches before. You know what is required: More sleep, more exercise, more books. A little bit of charity toward yourself. A lot of time. It feels like shit, but it goes away, eventually.
Then, a few weeks back, a friend of mine who was due to give birth, went early. Six weeks early. That’s a real problem, not one you make up in your head, and it was sobering. All of sudden, there was something in the world that didn’t relate to me directly, that I couldn’t control, that was big and important and scary.
For a couple days, we were all in limbo. We waited for news. We heard about the birth, and my friend’s trip to the ICU, and the french-fry lamps that warmed up her baby. Nothing to do but hunker down and wait, and know that nothing that’s ever happened to you has ever been so important.
In a week or so, we got the email that he was all right: Eating and sleeping and gaining weight. He was out from under the lamps and his Mom was OK. I called everyone I know. I was elated, really up, for the first time in weeks.
Years ago, when I was in another Great Depression, I decided the only way to get out was to try to help my friends with whatever was going on in their lives. I brought coffee to a friend with back spasms. I made myself ask more questions than give answers to friends with personal drama. It was hard, but really good for me, like an exercise for the soul.
I’m at a point now where people’s lives are dramatic enough on their own. I don’t need to try to remember that their situation is more important than mine. That’s good, I guess, as long as things keep working out.
At any rate: Welcome to planet Earth, little Leo. It’s a beautiful place, full of weird and tricky things. You’re gonna live here!