There seems to be a lot picking at me lately, and I’m having trouble finding the good.
It’s coming from everywhere…
- I have a new boss now—actually, I have a new boss every year, given my role on campus—and I’m feeling wrong-footed and awkward and like I’ve forgotten how to do half my job.
- I just spent two months working a part-time job rather than not work at all for that time, and taking a week off during that time, while it’s not a problem for some people, has real consequences for us. I feel like it’s going to be a long time before we get out of the hole again—well, we won’t get out of the hole necessarily, but it’ll be a while before we quit juggling bills and paychecks and due dates quite so strenuously.
- Every time I turn on the news there’s nary a corner of the world that doesn’t have people doing something monumentally stupid—to put it nicely. This evening there was strong suspicion a reporter was beheaded on film. Countries who have probably long since forgotten why they hate each other continue to bomb each other to bits. We can all be sure, also, that there’s a Kardashian or a Bieber or someone else whom we have made a celebrity for no reason at all doing something monumentally stupid, and making money hand over fist all the while.
- People just can’t stop killing each other in our own country, for stupid reasons. They can’t stop killing themselves, either. “Riot” and “racism” and “Parkinson’s” and “suicide” produce a nearly visceral reaction in me this week. While I acknowledge that they all exist and we should all take them seriously, I’m weary. I just can’t think about it anymore.
- The university’s Provost mentioned in a meeting today that healthcare premiums and copays are going to go up again. The university employs well over 1,000 people, but it seems that a mere 300 of them ran up 70% of the healthcare costs over the last year. We already haven’t been going to the doctor because sometimes we just don’t have the $15 to go, and it will be going up to $25 next year. I hope those 300 really needed that healthcare.
- I watch people who should be actively working to help themselves drag their feet—perhaps because if they face things, it will be real. There’s a real pull within me to bail these people out like I always have, but they have to climb out of their own pile of manure just like I am. It’s the only way to grow up.
- I even feel like I failed as a gardener this year, because my freezer isn’t full of the fruits of what little labor it takes to keep a 12X12 garden going. It’s not a great deal of food, but it helps, and knowing I’m going to have to do without even that little cushion prompts a sense of failure.
These and a million other little teeny pinpricks of irritation, sadness, and apathy seem to pull at my senses and drag me down to a level of cynicism and wariness that’s hard to slog through.
Intellectually, I know it’s just a matter of time before things turn around, in my own mind before in front of my own two eyes, naturally. I used to tell my patients that all the time. I also used to tell them to focus on not only the happy, but the realistic.
The “For Reals” in this entry are:
- I do have a new boss this year, and it just so happens that this is his first year ever at it. I don’t know what his preferences are, but I am looking forward to working with an individual who seems to be a person of instant decision and even quicker desire to do what is right. I’m likely not the only one feeling wrong-footed here. Things are changing for everyone, and it will take a while to run at full speed again.
- Instead of giving up for two months, I DID work that part-time job and contributed to the household. We were short money, and I did take a week off for no pay in July, but it was for a good reason and it was good for me. I am back to full-time hours now and things will even out—sort of.
- There are always going to be people around the world doing things that are considered monumentally stupid by one group or another. Whether I give it more energy than it deserves is up to me.
- People are also doing extraordinary things FOR each other, not just TO each other. Unfortunately, we are a society of rubberneckers and reality television junkies, and the more shocking stuff is what makes headlines. If I’m to snap out of this, I need to bury my head in the sand, so to speak, and focus on what’s going on in my own head and my own home for a while.
- Healthcare premiums are always going to go up, sure as God made little fishes. There’s nothing I can do about any of that. What I can do is continue to work on taking the best care of myself that I can, and if I can’t, then I can’t. Those situations are what healthcare coverage is for. Additionally, those 300 people don’t have to answer to me. They have their own battles. To quote Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick.”
- I can’t continue to bail people out, because it’s not fair to them. I’m doing them a disservice by taking on what they won’t. It’s also not fair to me. I shouldn’t expect myself to do things for others that I am expected to do for myself.
- This summer was weird, weather wise. Just because I had a good year for tomatoes last year doesn’t mean it will be good this year. My .0033 acre (I looked that up!) is just as vulnerable to weather and vermin as any other, and gardening takes some measure of luck as well as knowledge.
This is the point in the conversation where I tell my patients to “fake it ‘til they make it.”
Easy, right? Hardly, but it can be done. There are all kinds of ways to accomplish this.
One way I do that is to jam the headphones in my ears and turn on Pandora. I’m actually listening to it as I write this.
Another way is to make myself laugh. Here are some of my current favorite videos:
Soon I will feel lighter, smarter, and happier again. For now I’m still “faking it.”