My quote of the day on my Google homepage was this, from Appolinaire: “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
And you know what? He was probably right. Sunshine, butterflies, lalalalala.
Know what else? Appolinaire, god rest his beautiful soul, can bite me.
I get it. I do. And for the record, I recognize all the things that are good enough, even good, about my life. Enough food, though I’m not shopping the way I used to, when I would buy whatever looked or sounded good (when did the starting price for everything at the store become $5?) Housing, filled as it is with boxes that seem to expect something from me. Clothing (and the church of very-affordable Target).
It’s not nothing.
Adaptability is one of my strengths. I can roll with just about anything, and am very tolerant of changing circumstances or (this is harder) circumstances that don’t change when I hoped they would. But I’m at the end of that particular rope right now, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s attached to a powder keg.
Last Saturday morning, I got up early and took the Jeep for a drive. As always happens after a few miles, I relax into the driving, and the things outside of me fall away like pieces of a shell. The road I drive doesn’t leave much room for inattention. When there’s nothing but a guardrail between you and a Thelma and Louise ending, it’s time to put both hands on the wheel. On the way back home, I was on part of the road that had been blasted from the side of a mountain.
On that side of the road, an exposed wall of rock rose high above it. And, where it had fallen away from the face of the wall, a large pile of rock lay next to the road.
I found myself wondering what it is that happens, after years, to make a section of a wall finally let go like that and fall? Was it a shift in the mass of the mountain? Or an echo of the blast that carved the road from it years ago?
Or was it the constant, daily vibration from traffic? Yes, maybe that. Nothing remarkable, after all, just the wear and tear of it?
Yeah, that’s where my mind was.
Sometimes I wonder how most of us manage to keep it all together, especially when life throws the big things at us–illness, a lost job, death. And then there are the lesser, but stinging, disappointments, like a vacation that couldn’t go forward as planned, and the loss of time with people we miss.
As adaptable as I am, I’ve always wondered if all it would take was just one more thing to make me come completely undone. I’ve waited for it, sure that it would happen. I thought it would be big, but as time passes and I get older, I’m more inclined to think it might be something small.
Like finding another scorpion in the house last night. Or the refrigerator door falling off (it’s happened, twice, and seems about ready to happen again). Or reaching the end of the summer without finding a house. Or Girl asking me over and over and ohmygodover, “When can we go to Build-a-Bear workshop again?” Or waiting to fall in love with another house.
In the larger picture, none of those things are so big, and I know it. So why do I feel like I have my shoulder to the door, trying to keep out a bear?
How do we manage it? What is it that makes us keep going without falling apart? So often, the thread is thin when I feel like I need a strong rope to hold onto. Is it the good stuff that we take from (or add to?) our lives that keeps us from going batshit crazy? (We have some excellent pharmaceuticals for that, too, let’s not forget.)
What keeps you going? (Besides a good refrigerator repairman?)
P.S. If your life is so freaking fantastic that you have no idea what I’m talking about, please identify yourself. And then duck. 🙂