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!
8 thoughts on “Can’t Help You Get Over”
wow, thanks for this one. A little bit of charity to yourself and others – how important to be reminded that it works.
And congrats to your friend! And welcome to Leo!
You don’t know me at all, so really, why should i dispense advice, but I found that life gets significantly easier when you make the list. The “things that are and are not my problem” list. Obviously, friend giving birth is something worth caring about, and good for you for seeing the lesson there – but most stuff that weget all jacked up about can usually be filed under “not my problem”
I agree with mineisay in a way, but the great thing about this post is that you are saying that your caring about others took you outside of yourself and put things in perspective for you. I think sometimes we (okay, I) get so bogged down in our own shit that we forget there are other people out there who have bigger problems.
We remain faithfully interested in you. Your “petty” colds and “insignificant” feelings are pretty much what we come here to see.
I realize that you are busy and that things in your life have taken up a lot of your attention, and I also realize that I don’t speak for everyone here, but at least I can say that this long-time reader hasn’t grown bored.
p.s. Have I been here long enough to consider myself a long-time reader? I can’t really remember when I showed up here. I’m sure you’ll all be quite happy when I finally leave though. :p
Word, Jen. Word.
If it’s of any consolation at all, your perspective has provided me with great perspective.
Is there something you want to tell us?
If you can’t stare at your own navel, what’s the point of writing a blog?