That the past twenty or so months have been hard on everyone except billionaires, who got richer, is hardly news. I guess many of us didn’t know exactly how hard these months will be and perhaps only the best among us, pessimism experts, foresaw how long the hard part will last. What was news to me, was just how deep you could descend into the pit of pessimism.
I’ve deliberately chosen not to write about the pandemic and its effects on us all because who needs more depressing writing, right? Certainly not me. But after last week I touched a personal low, my redundancy system kicked in. Remember that old pearl of self-help wisdom about today being the first day of the rest of your life? Well, I’m going the other way. Today, and every subsequent day could be the last day of my life, literally or “as I know it”, so I’m living it to the fullest.
I spent much of last year in fear of getting critically ill and dying, leaving my family to fend for themselves or, why not, both me and Big C. falling ill and dying and leaving Little C. in the care of her grandparents and uncle, and what if they die, too… You can see where this goes.
This year, I thought’d outgrown this fear but then came the vaccine wars online and I almost lost whatever small hope I’d had for humanity. Almost, because luckily I found there are still people willing and able to question stuff that I will not go into detail about because this are not the vaccine war trenches, this is my personal blog. I also lost my newly re-established peace of mind because while others chose to succumb to fear or, conversely, to channel their inner rebel, regardless of whether they had an actual cause, I kept questioning everything, and I mean everything.
Simply put, I have come to divide people into two groups. There are those who go through life in the unbeatable conviction that “This won’t happen to me” and even if part of them questions this conviction they are successful at silencing it. I envy these people unashamedly but have resigned myself to the fact I will never be like them. Regardless of which vaccine camp these people belong to, they don’t overthink anything, they just act.
Then there are those who, like me, have trouble with convictions of any sort. These are the people who don’t just overthink everything. They overquestion everything as well, to the point when they become incapable of making a decision, which, of course, results in inaction, which is also a sort of decision but you know what I mean. In the vaccine wars, these are the people who get vaccinated and then live in fear of the side effects or don’t get vaccinated and live in fear of the virus. It’s a fine fear balance worthy of a Hellraiser installment.
It seems I’ve now reached the point of oversaturation with fear and anxiety, perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. I hope it’s the latter but we’ll see. So I’ve accepted that any of the members of my family can drop dead tomorrow, not from the virus but because anything could happen and the universe doesn’t care if you’re a nice person or too young to die. I’ve known this all my life. I’ve feared it all my life. You might say I had several laps on most when it comes to living in constant fear of dying or losing your nearest and dearest. And now I’m way too exhausted to keep doing the loop. I’m taking a break and hoping to make it permanent.
I suspect this is what all the trendy life coaches and suchlike talk about when they advise that you live “in the now”. Or maybe it isn’t and they mean staying fully aware of every second of your life, which I find impossible. What I have found possible is to appreciate things on a daily basis. They don’t necessarily need to be good things but I appreciate being alive to experience them much as I’ve come to detest the word experience due to the mass abuse of it. I didn’t enjoy being cold this morning when I got out of the warm room but I didn’t make the usual big deal about it. It’s nice I’m alive to feel cold.
I can’t seem to make myself angry enough to snap at Little C. for spending too much time in front of a screen. But then, how could I after yesterday when, right after we arrived at the country house, she almost cried with happiness at how beautiful everything was, and how clearly she saw it all now with her new glasses, and could we just never go back to the city because this is SO BEAUTIFUL and could she dig up a veggie bed, right now, immediately, and when were we going to the forest, and could we stay here forever? Which proves the decision to move here was the third best decision I’ve made in my life, or maybe the fourth, if we count work-related decisions.
Right now, the world is a pretty depressing place and it’s not only because the pandemic brought up a dirty froth of destructive emotions. There’s a variety of reasons the world is a pretty depressing place right now but I won’t be going into any of them, lest we all get (even more) depressed. Depression is exhausting and I’m way too young to feel that exhausted on a daily basis. So I’m not having it. I’m making sure I laugh every day, I’m sending all sources of annoyance to hell, even if only in my head, and I’m enjoying my food and beer, and garden. If you think about it, we really don’t need all that much to be happy. We just think we do.
Much as the world — and I — has changed some thing haven’t and I;m still peddling my books (and writing new ones):
For a thriller wrapped in a dream made of smoke, death and destruction, with a filling of tragedy and atonement sprinkled with drama and served with a side of a relatable villain, press The Dreamer.
For random scary stories, here’s a complete list of my published shorter fiction.