Life has a reassuring habit of tapping you on the shoulder sometimes and saying, “hey, I know you think you’ve got it bad but it could actually be a lot worse”. Lord knows Karen and I have found the last 4 weeks tough and at the height of it we were living like zombies: staggering to work, staggering home, staggering the problems to try and make them more surmountable and then just collapsing into the comforting oblivion of sleep.
But really. Things could have been worse. A lot worse.
I met my old friend, Dave, yesterday – the guy I wrote about a couple of weeks ago on this here very blog; my partner in late eighties C90 based toilet humour. It was one of those chance, out of the blue meetings that are sadly all too rare but do serve to ground you and remind you that actually the entirety of all existence isn’t circling solely around you and your miserable little band of troubles.
It was good to catch up but not good to hear that, like a lot of people I’ve heard from recently (is there some weirdly negative cosmic zeitgeist going around at the moment?) he and his family have been going through the mill lately. I won’t go into detail as the details are not mine to share but let’s just say that persistent illness of a loved one is at the core of it and the situation is not improving. Hence Dave is running around like the proverbial bluearsed fly and not having very much “me” time at all.
Sometimes living life is like trying to nail jelly to a wall with someone on your back charging you extortionate rates for the use of the hammer whilst lubricating the jelly.
I’m sure that image will stay with many of you for a long time. Please don’t thank me; it’s just what I do.
During our chat Dave and I couldn’t help but reminisce back to those relatively carefree days when we used to give our woefully adolescent subconscious minds free reign to express themselves onto Sony C90 tape. We spoke a little wistfully of the dreams we’d had at the time. Dreams not plans. Because there was loads of stuff we knew we wanted to do – travelling around America was one item high on our list, I seem to recall – but we made no definite plans to see any of the dreams realized.
And then before we knew it the opportunity had gone and life had given us a bag of jelly mix and a lump hammer from the local ‘building and plumbing supplies’ hire centre.
In the blink of an eye you’re fast-tracked into the rat-race; nose-dived into the grid. Welcome to the real world. The desert of the real.
And so you grow up. And you mature. And your perspectives change. Your dreams become simpler but in a way far more meaningful.
You want your loved ones to be happy and healthy. You want quality time with them. Sometimes you’d gladly swap a coast-to-coast tour of the US just to sit with your family and watch a decent sitcom on the TV and feel that all is right with your world.
A little bit of homespun wisdom for you all: even when things are at their worst the good things you have are still good.
It really does help to remember that. Trust me.
(Good luck, Dave.)