I’m having trouble writing these days — writing anything at all — emails to family and friends, letters of outrage, birthday messages to grandchildren. I sit down at the computer, type in a line or two and then….nothing. Finally, after I’ve looked out windows, and gone for another handful of salted nuts, I hit the “save” button. After a few days, my desk top is covered with them...debris from days of writing failures. I send them all to the trash. Frankly, that slight effort feels like accomplishment.
Is this depression? Reality? Age related? Diet related? I’m also not exercising as much and that leads to all kinds of mental mayhem.
Or is this grief?
This is the 6 month anniversary of “Lockdown” — half a year. Will we ever sit in a crowded theater again? Host a come-one-come-all party? Cheer for our favorite team among a crowd of fans? Hug and be hugged in return?
We need a warning siren installed in our brain — SHUT DOWN NOW. SYSTEM OVERLOAD. TAKE COVER. We do. The sirens are all over the news: alcoholism is up. Gun sales have increased which predicts an increase in suicides. 1 in 4 young people between ages 18 and 24 think seriously about killing themselves. Domestic violence. Public unrest. Anger. BAD DREAMS!
Whew….anybody have a spare bottle of Valium?
What do we do with all this cosmic sadness? I wish it was an easy prescription …a pill. “Take 1 daily with ice cream.”
This week I visited a friend. She lives in a Shangri La that she’s built with hard work, creative genius and admittedly, $$$. It’s been 40 years in the making…beautiful flower gardens, a bird sanctuary… peaceful fields of grasses… a pond designed for frogs and children. She climbs off her tractor, throws her workman gloves across its seat and walks toward me.
“Sit down. I’ll bring out some iced tea.” We sit outside the required 6 feet apart. In every direction, the view is delicious. If you lived here, could anything bad ever happen? But she is not immune to sadness and trials — her life includes its quota of scars.
“I asked … to rototill that patch over there. I’m moving shrubs. He’ll do it, but for him, it’s a chore. Like ‘please vacuum the living room’ chore. Not for me. I loose myself out here. Sure, it’s hard work but I just….”
She looks around and begins pointing out changes since my last visit. She doesn’t say “love” … or “satisfaction”…or “accomplishment” but those are obvious. I remember the definition of “happiness” from the Yale happy class. Here it is. She's offered me a transfusion. I soak it in for an hour before driving back into town.