As I’ve gotten older, change comes harder, and some days are a shockwave. The world keeps moving, our culture keeps changing, our society seems bleaker and bleaker, and I often feel powerless to process so much, let alone take part in all the necessary requirements of feeding, nurturing, and perpetuating all the external forces that siphon so much from me on a daily basis.
That’s all before looking inward. Every now and then I like to go through my mental inventory and take stock: How far behind am I on scheduling medical or dental things? How many small tasks can I knock out if I make a list? How am I doing as a person? Where am I falling short, how can I do better, etc.? Doing the laundry, cleaning up after my pets and myself, wondering how we’re going to afford X, Y, and Z, when do we arrange this, and what happened to all of our friends?
Or is that just what being an adult is like? Asking a lot of questions to a room that grows emptier by the day as the once-pillars of our social circle begin to re-prioritize families, children, etc. Where does that missing comfort come from? Making the time to do something as simple as make a phone call or hang out for a few hours now has to go through enough red tape to potentially qualify for a tax write-off. And then there’s taxes! Oh man, taxes.
Then there’s the glimpses onto social media where the windows get opened too far – We see where people’s empathies and energies are going toward. Politics that don’t reflect my own, ugly comment section squabbles, posturing for likes or e-points, selling pyramid scheme wares, and so on. My timeline – sunrises, dogs, food, and my happy cozy life – is that enough? Am I satisfying the horde’s demand?
I ask myself why we sometimes feel so alone or despondent when things aren’t so bad. I’ve got an amazing wife, partner, and best friend who is my world. She means so incredibly much to me that I struggle to think of life without her, and take moments frequently throughout the day to acknowledge and savor her being in my life, and appreciate all we’ve built these last few years.
But even with two dogs scrambling about the house and Netflix/HBO/Prime grinding out binging material with aplomb, I wonder what will fill that emptiness that lands on us when it decides to float down. COVID-19 has taken so many possibilities away from the short-term that we’ve had to build a ladder out of materials we didn’t even know were there, and sometimes that’s incredibly hard. I think we all can relate to that struggle in our own ways.
The only medicine I can think of for fighting the blues is to keep going. To know things will get better, that there will be a vaccine, that we will travel again, that we will go out again, that we will maintain current friendships and build new ones. Hold onto hope that the political spectrum of our society will shift toward a more positive, less intrusive area, that our culture can return to being a colorful gradient instead of binary beige. Believe that the laundry will get done, that the garbage will get taken out each week, that the dog will eventually learn to consistently poop outside, that the bills will be paid, that the end isn’t coming tomorrow or the next day. Dread can’t be our constant companion tucking me into bed each night.
Reminding ourselves that what we can control is manageable and malleable. To love one another and keep reminding one another of that love. To try, always trying.
So yeah, this post is a little much, but it sure felt good to write. I believe in my family, my friends, my wife, my doggies, and myself. There is gold in these hills.