Feb, 25th 2020: I drive or walk by this warehouse and office building on a very busy street often. It is generally littered with garbage or often the tent spot for a pop-up homeless camp. Most often it is just a convenient spot for plastic garbage and the annoying people with dogs who let them shit freely and then don’t feel obliged to pick it up. As a non dog guardian and someone who detests the putrid smell and warm pate-like consistency of a plastic bag grab, I imaging these people thinking “oh well, this place is a shit-hole already” as they leave it there and praise the pooch like it created the magic of magic of all canine creations. “That’s a good boy” they say as I think “You’re a complete asshole.” I think sometimes I may have used my outside voice in thinking that. What they don’t know is now I get to park near this. It has too often been dry and sunny, so I get to enjoy the smell of dry-grass infused sun-baked doggy doo don’t.
A little perspective….
It annoys me. Well, no actually it pisses me off. This has been pretty easy to do as of late and although the 150 MG of bupropion I take as a daily does a good job of softening the edges, I can still sense it – like it’s ready to burst through at any second. It’s overwhelming. It’s exhausting.
Unfortunately that has been a theme as of late. I keep company with frustration and anger, anxiety and depression far more regularly now than I have ever done in the recent past. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with my life right now, I have disproportionally let my challenges at work and my failures, mistakes and obstacles get the better of me. The truth of the matter is that I am both on the mend and my life is beautiful. I have the husband of my dreams, I have a family of friends and a friendly family who all (mostly) adore me and would (and do) support me in whatever I need. What do I see sometimes? I see clouds and I smell the dog shit.
I have kept company with depression in the past. Coming out of the closet meant changing a life and relationships I (mostly) loved. I feared losing everyone. I hurt people I cared about. During the AIDS holocaust I watched my new friends die and their long term friends disappear. My family was struck with the unspeakable tragedy of a train-truck wreck (the train always wins) and my parents died as I lived 3000 miles away. Through all of this, I adapted, and grew and recovered. In many of these moments I actually shone the brightest on showed what is truly the best of me. Turning 50 has precipitated another cycle of this abyss throupled with my running injuries and two near bankruptcy events in my company. It’s all been a bit much and my mental bones are not nearly as flexible these days as they once were. While I know I will survive this one too, that I will come out stronger again, once I pepper a little social awareness of the systemic challenges we face with a bit of political pessimism I get from the death of our democracy, flashing to sadness, anger, anxiety, and depression is not so far a journey to take.
Perspective. This brings me back from the cliff and abyss. Sure, I don’t love turning 50 and do please note – offering your stories of how turning 50 wasn’t so bad or that I should wait until I’m 60 is not nearly as helpful as one might think it is. Actually, it’s not helpful at all. I love that you had your journey, I am attempting to understand mine. Perspective. I am a better me because of my bumps and bruises. My scar tissues show texture and I have a loving family that soothes all sores. I’m busting my ass at work and my team and our business partners are helping us thrive. 2020 is truly looking up! But in the distance, around the corner, in that pack of grass I just KNOW I’ll smell dog shit. I’m probably going to step in it.
I walked the block today in a break between meetings. That is, actually, I extended the near nano second break I typically have between double-booked back to back meetings and walked a block. It was a beautiful day. It was breezy, sunny and spring blooms are filling the air. I’m trying to do that more often. I’m taking a break. I am trying to chill out. I am trying to tell myself that I’m at least worth a walk around one block.
Emeryville does a pretty good job cleaning up our main streets. Shit spot parking lot was cleaned up recently so as I approached it, I saw a patch of California poppies, our state flower. They are bold. They are bright. They are the first sign of spring and of warmth, of growth and of new life. The cynic in me will argue that they are fleeting, that they are gone quickly and that they will be a weed-trap for plastic bags inside of a month, but for now they are beautiful. OK, I’ll say it. They make me happy. I love them. I recall how amazed they made me during my first California spring. I remember how my mother tried to pick them -(the petals fall off nearly instantly- they absolutely suck as cut flowers and are meant, like many things, to be admired and left alone) -and how she was saddened, but tried another bunch. It was like she believed she had picked the wrong ones and just needed to try again. I love them. They make me HAPPY. I need to keep saying that out loud. Perspective. If that’s all they do, it’s enough.
The patch of grass was nice today. It was clean, ish. The air was fresh. If there was pooch poo, the ground was wet enough and the breeze swift enough that I had no clue. I squatted for a poppy infused selfie and texted it to Chris. I said it was pretty and he replied that I was too. I’m dealing with depression, but I am happy. Tomorrow I’m going to walk two blocks instead of one.