Saturday, August 1, 2009
What a lousy week. In July, I asked you how your “last seven days" went. Out of 127 responses, only four of you (3%) replied, “couldn’t have gone better.”
By contrast, seven times as many of you (28, 22%) told me your week “totally sucked.”
Okay, let’s check out the adjoining categories. One in five of you (23, 18%) said the last seven days went “pretty well.” Add that to the three percent of you who had a great week, and - guess what? - it still rounds off to a pathetic one in five who could look back on a positive week.
Contrast that to four times as many of you - nearly half - who had a negative week. We arrive at this by adding the “totally sucked” group to the one in four (31, 24%) who reported the week “posed a serious challenge.”
Filling in the middle, one in three of you (41, 32%) reported that the last seven days “had its ups and downs.”
How would I have answered this poll? At the beginning of July, I came back from a road trip with a moderate depression and what I thought was a bad leg cramp. Put me in the “posed quite a challenge” week.
Then the leg cramp intensified into excruciating pain that kept me flat on my back for eight days looking up at the ceiling fan. Sciata. Life “totally sucked.”
Could I squeeze a good week out of my entire month? No. “Serious challenge" was the best I could do.
Granted, July was an anomaly for me. I like to think in any given month, I can cobble together at least two weeks that “went pretty well.” As for “couldn’t have gone better,” you gotta be kidding. Never in my entire life, not for a seven-day stretch, anyway.
I have bipolar. You’d think I could count on at least one reliable hypomania to rocket me through a week I would never forget. But in case you haven’t noticed, hypomania isn’t all its cracked up to be. Mine come preloaded with high anxiety and road rage. So - whenever I hear some stupid doctor saying we go off our meds because we’re addicted to our manias, well, never mind.
Obviously, our population has extreme difficulties with the concept of happy. Meanwhile, we have miserable nailed. I suspect the general population is similarly - though not as excessively - predisposed.
Maybe we’re simply not meant to be happy, and the sooner we acknowledge this the happier we’ll be. Maybe our perception of happiness is totally wrong, and we become miserable chasing after the wrong things. Maybe life is all about successfully negotiating its special challenges, instead. Maybe the best we can hope for is quiet acceptance.
Who knows? What this admittedly unscientific poll clearly tells us is that an overwhelming majority of us are having considerable difficulties negotiating this rather ubiquitous presence called life. Obviously, we need to do a better job.