Like some of my favorite TV shows, my blog went on hiatus for Thanksgiving week. It was certainly not planned or intentional. I just failed to come up with anything to write about or the time to write it.
Truth be told, I’ve been in kind of a deep, dark lethargy these past few weeks. It’s partially the election and the all-encompassing feeling of dread I have for what’s ahead for this nation. [On that front, I read an interesting interview with Robert Reich today that outlines in detail the things we all have to fear from a Trump presidency: Danny Feingold, “Conversations on Trump’s America: Robert Reich Previews a New Era of Savage Inequality”, Capital and Main website, 11/29/16, http://capitalandmain.com/conversations-on-trumps-america-robert-reich-previews-a-new-era-of-savage-inequality-1129%5D I avoid the news because I hate having to look at his face, let alone listen to the crap coming out of his mouth (or the mouths of his surrogates – that Kellyanne Conway person in particular gives me the heebie-jeebies, but she may be on her way out, evidently). I’m just waiting for my call to action, because I know it’s coming.
It might also be the too-early arrival of night since we turned back the clocks a few weeks ago. Not enough sunlight means not enough energy for Nan. When it gets dark at like four o’clock in the afternoon, I just want to cuddle up on the sofa with a couple of cats and zone out in front of the TV, but IT’S ONLY FOUR O’CLOCK!! And of course I can never wake up in a timely enough fashion to take advantage of the earlier arrival of daylight.
But in the midst of these doldrums, I still manage to find little bits of joy to sustain me. Beginning on January 1st of 2016, I’ve been diligently recording, every night before I go to bed, at least one thing that gave me joy that day. Believe me, some days it isn’t easy, and I do have to admit to writing “No joy today” on a number of occasions. But I’ve been pretty consistent about it, so I feel like I’m at least making an effort to stay positive even when I feel myself slipping into depression.
My joys fall into four main categories:
(1) My various companion animals, both at home and at the shelter. Without question, animal contact has given me more moments of happiness than probably anything else. There’s nothing better than stroking the cheeks and chin of a cat at creating mutual bliss between the participants.
(2) Things on TV, like new seasons of my favorite shows, like “Shameless”, “Project Runway”, “Ink Master”, and of course “Game of Thrones”, which I miss terribly. Seriously? We have to wait till the summer for its return?? I’ll have to console myself with . . .
(3) The Rangers and, to a lesser extent, the New York Football Giants. Like Sunday, for example – no joy on the Ranger front, as they were shut out by an Ottawa Senators team that played ITS game better than the Rangers played THEIRS, but at least the Giants won, pretty convincingly after a slow start, a game they were supposed to win. Odell Beckham Jr.’s elation when he scores touchdowns (even if it’s called back, like the one he scored on a punt return) is just contagious. Yesterday, because they were in Cleveland, he had concocted a little Lebron James tribute where he pantomimed the thing that Lebron does where he throws out the powder or fairy dust or whatever it’s supposed to be. Although I must confess that the Rangers are also responsible for entries like (from April 21), “Not only NO JOY but DESPONDENCY; Rangers were embarrassingly lethargic. No work = no money, too much food – I didn’t have ANY joy today.”
(4) FOOD. Yes, I admit it – food gives me joy. Sometimes it’s the only thing in a day for which I can muster appreciation. My weekly chicken souvlaki platter with Israeli salad from Abe’s Pitaria is a constant, especially when I can pair it with yummy frozen yogurt (with multiple toppings) from Tutti Frutti. Desserts of all kinds, Digiornio’s stuffed crust pepperoni pizza, dinners out with friends – some of my greatest moments are comestible-related.
There’s other stuff, too, that doesn’t quite fall into any of those categories. A magnificent Long Beach sunset during one of my Boardwalk power walks; listening to the perfect song as I’m riding my bike (R.I.P. big blue bicycle – I’ll get a new one when I move back home and can actually store it inside so it doesn’t die from rust rot, like my former bike did); a visit with a good buddy I haven’t seen in a while. Even something as seemingly insignificant as finding a good parking spot can make it into the Joybook.
Sometimes I can’t evoke “joy” per se, but on those days I record what I think of as “contentedness”, like one day in September when the weather was gorgeous, I kept up with my walking regimen (which, I confess, has fallen by the wayside, another victim of my recent lack of motivation) and I managed to earn $500.
But what this whole exercise has done for me is forced me to appreciate the small moments in life. Joy doesn’t present itself in big chunks; it comes in little snippets, and if you’re hustling and bustling mindlessly through your days, or solely focused on the downswings, you’ll miss those precious moments.
So the little Celtic Daybook that my friend André gave me way back in 1990, that I’ve been holding on to blankly for all that time, has finally gotten filled (with only one more month to g0). Even in this awful year, I still managed to find quite a few things that brought me joy. And now I need to get a new daybook for 2017, because I’m afraid we’re in for a bumpy ride, so joyful moments will come at a premium and must be memorialized and cherished at all costs.