Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I keep pretty good tabs on my overall health - how I feel physically (energy level, fitness, illness/injury or lack thereof), mentally (concentration, creative energy, etc) and emotionally. The state of those first two factors can almost always be explained by outside events. Do I feel exhausted and crappy in the morning? Maybe I'm coming down with a cold. Do I just sit there and stare at the wall after dinner and not feel like picking up a book? I probably wore myself out so much during the day that I can't even summon the mental energy to read. Those kinds of days, the best thing you can hope for is a thunderstorm for some front porch entertainment.

My emotional state, however, is not often as easily explained. I can feel like crap because of a cold, be bored and without work, and still keep a generally positive outlook. In other moments, I might have a great day working, the weather could be fantastic, and everything could be generally peachy and sometimes I still feel sorta blue. I don't know if it's still the wierdness of my 'new' life that I'm adjusting to, although I think in general I've always sort of been this way.

The main truism about me is that I seem to have a pretty hard time keeping a bad mood or any kind of negative mindset for a significant amount of time, and if this is a simple fact of my character then I also know that it's something to give thanks for. Mom spent many years struggling with depression and later described it carefully to us kids so we would know what to look for - lack of energy, lack of motivation, a general feeling of being worthless, etc, and how it colors the entire world, even though from a practical point of view maybe things could be a lot worse. It's hard to understand this kind of testimony if you haven't been through it yourself, especially because we like to think that fixing emotional problems is just a matter of changing your attitude. For me, it sort of seems like I got the opposite end of the stick, then. I'm relentlessly, irrepressibly, irresponsibly, and naively optimistic, even when I'm in a situation that should be acknowledged as problematic.

In the large scheme of things, I know I don't really have anything serious to complain about, but then, does anyone? I can't help but feel that if I were a poor Honduran I'd probably be just as happy-go-lucky, maybe moreso. There are difficult aspects of my life that could probably get me down if I chose to dwell on them. My childhood was quite a bit more unusual than I used to believe, but then how could I have the perspective to notice that until I'd left it far enough behind? I could ruminate about being by most accounts a pretty average person when I used to imagine that I was somehow special, or about having half-assed several important goals in my life like my college experience and now, getting on to grad school. I could depress myself thinking about the fact that I don't really have any close friends that I can visit with on a regular basis and I almost never have. I could whine about my apparently permanent lack of female companionship.

But why bother? Most of those 'problems' just have to do with who I am. That's me. And nobody else is much better off in the long run. When I think about where I've been and where I might be going, I can never manage the effort to really feel dissatisfied. I'm always reminded of a quote from the movie American Beauty, which comes right at the end and I think more than anything else was what made me love that film, because I immediately identified with it:

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst...
...and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life...

That's me when I get philosophical. Amazed and grateful. Is it possible to not be all that impressed or even necessarily satisfied with yourself; who you are and what you've done, but love life anyways? Well, I'm going to give it a try.


At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you my brother...this is a wonderful blog...reminds me that we're growing together!

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean if you were a poor Honduran you might be 'moreso'? What's 'moreso'? Use your imagination and give me a good definition, will you?
Yer mom

At 8:07 AM, Blogger pineconeboy said...

It's an adjective modifying how happy-go-lucky I would be (just as much as I am now, or more). I thought that I was using proper English good. Ain't that so?



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