Monday, July 27, 2020

Friend asks, "Life, is that all there is?"

My friend could no longer conceal his melancholy. He set down his craft beer, looked at me plaintively and asked, “I wake up everyday, wonder about the world and ask myself, ‘Is this all there is?’”

The sentiment is baffling to me because I have one of those indestructible egos that has me thinking having Friday afternoon porch drinks with me should be plenty.

Sure, there’s pandemic mayhem, racial unrest and the prospect that soon Trump and Biden will at a combined age of 151 years soon begin pandering to 18 year olds over things like the new Taylor Swift album, but being defiantly alive is still pretty cool.

Is this all there is?

Baseball’s back, there’s encouraging vaccine news and somewhere crowded with shiny supermodels Mick Jagger just turned 77.

Is this all there is?

Yes! So let’s be thankful for every hug, giggle, sunset, friendship, cuddle and moment of the day when we deliberately choose to listen to music instead of watch the news.

I don’t remember the instigation, but I once challenged myself to compose the most depressing summation of life there’s ever been.

Why there have been days when I challenge myself to think of things like that instead of challenging myself to earn actual income is a philosophical puzzler for another day.

But here it is:

“Life is a series of disappointments, each one greater than the last, leading inexorable to the grave.”

Now, that’s morose.
I have to say, it was fun to write something so out of character, like Adam Sandler must feel when he plays someone with a brain.

There’s two reasons I didn’t share that with my melancholy friend.

First, we were on the second floor porch overlooking the Tin Lizzy parking lot. I thought the devastating line may have caused him to jump and I didn’t want him denting my car.

Second, it’s utter nonsense. Hoo-ha. A life without any light or laughter? Has that ever happened  even once?

We’re all right now understandably spending time on the front pages. It’s all crisis, death, disruption, tumult and lots of cross words.

But we still live our whole lives back deeper in the paper, clear back on the pages where they print the comics, birth announcements, and the benign kind of crosswords.

Our daughters are 19 and 14. I spend a lot of time trying to conjure the words that will let them still pursue big dreams in a world that momentarily seems godforsaken.

Is finding happiness even possible anymore?

I’d say yes, but it’s wise to seek it in smaller increments.

I tell them to do something they love to do each and every day just because it’s something they love to do each and every day. 

It can be playing with the dog, spending time laughing with friends, learning a musical instrument or writing in a journal. 

You’ll be amazed, I say, at the things those kinds of recreational devotions can lead to.

Because life is a series of unrelated giggles with people you care about leading inexorably to simple human happiness.

It may not be all there is, but it can be enough and that’s all that matters.


Melissa Boerio said...

Chris, once again you remind us of what is really important. Thank you.

Chris Rodell said...

Oh, thank you, Melissa, for letting me know people care!