Look, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. The last week or so has been miserable. Bad news after bad news compounded on top of pain and (luckily) painkillers. I haven’t written anything in a week and I’m already going through “blog withdrawal”. They say, “write what you know” and lately it seems like all I know is that I’m not in a very good place. So I thought I’d write about that, or more specifically, write about why I won’t write about that.
I hate self-pity. Almost as much as I hate being sad or unhappy, or miserable, or whatever you wanna call it. But what I hate most of all is whining. Blogs are perfect vehicles for whining. Too often I see blog posts about how sad someone is, or how shitty their life is, or why the world isn’t fair, as if this is some new discovery. “Boring, Sydney…” The blogging equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
Yeah man, life sure sucks sometimes. But let’s put it in some context, okay?
People in Tuscon are dealing with incredible loss, after some horrifically random act of violence. Right now, someone in America is wondering how they’re going to feed their kids tonight. A little while ago, someone had their power cut off because they couldn’t pay a bill. It’ll probably get below freezing wherever they are, and their immediate concern is, “how will I stay warm tonight?”. Last year, some random couple experienced the happiest moment of their life. They had a baby, or perhaps they just got married and are excitedly starting a life together. This week their house was foreclosed on and they’re technically homeless. Neither of them have a job and their unemployment benefits just expired. Right now someone has to make a life or death decision about health care, and their whole decision-making process will boil down to the simple economics of, “I can’t afford this” … in America.
And that’s just off the top of my head.
Suddenly any “problems” I might have pale in comparison to the real situations people all over the country (and I didn’t even look outside of America, in the broader sense) are dealing with each and every moment of every day. There are people within a mile of me who have much more immediate, pressing matters. Life-threatening matters, perhaps. Real crises with real consequences, and there’s nothing I can do to help them. But you know what? They’re going to be okay. Whatever it is they’re dealing with, it’ll pass, and life will go on. The sun will rise tomorrow, the tide will go in, the tide will go out. We’re all ultimately going to be, “okay”.
So when I get melancholy over something as ridiculous as a tooth, or a bill, or some other carefully constructed stress point, I try and really, honestly, remind myself of the very real problems people all over America are facing right now. The temptation to throw a pity party is great, it seems, but I don’t think I’m ready to go get a cake and balloons just yet.