Fandango’s Provocative Question #122 is about REGRET.
Lucille Ball, the American actress and comedian, was quoted as saying…
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”
For this week’s provocative question I’m going to ask you to think back upon the life you’ve lived so far. And as you do so, consider this week’s question:
What is your biggest regret in life?
I suppose I could name several “regrets” I’ve had in my life, or the “biggest regret”, but I understand why I made the decisions I did at the time. So, I prefer to think of those things as mistakes, or the “roads most easily taken” without thinking ahead.
I understand myself a lot better than I did when I was young. I was always beating myself up for stupid things I did or said, but I am nicer to myself these days. I like the way my life is headed now, in spite of being a “senior citizen.” Actually, being a senior citizen, except for reminders that my body is slowly falling apart, is quite nice. People at this age are much more forgiving, and more accepting. Every day, I look forward to traveling again, pursuing hobbies I enjoy, and relishing time with family and friends.
So I have “no remorse, no regrets.” Easy come, easy go!
These are the questions and my responses for Melanie’s Share Your World this week:
What did you learn the hard way? How difficult teaching was for a person with ADHD.
Which activities make you lose track of time?
Almost anything I’m engaged in! Especially, though, games I play on my phone. Most are word games, but I also have two different Solitaire games, and a “wood block” game, where you fit pieces of different sizes and shapes into a grid. This last game is the most addictive! I could play it, mesmerized, for hours – I don’t know why!
The best thing I can do if I want to accomplish several things in one day is to stay away from these games until I have a lull in the evening, or am waiting at a doctor’s office, for example.
Why do we seem to think of others the most after they’re gone? Sad, isn’t it? Grief makes you linger on the one you’ve lost, and regret reminds you of all the things you wish you had said or done for them, but didn’t. I think we take others for granted. If they are a regular part of our lives, it just seems like they’ll be there forever. I hope the pandemic has taught us that we should value our time with loved ones and say and do everything for them that we can to show our appreciation.
Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Hmm, this is a difficult one. Many people claim to know the “truth” due to what they’ve been taught, and they’ve never been exposed or challenged by other ideas. They may have their “truth” confirmed by other people around them who think the same way, but how can they know they are right? If one is really convinced of the “truth,” that person doesn’t feel the need to go beyond that. They just hang onto reinforcement of that truth.
So yes, one can claim to know “truth” without examining that truth, but I do think that only by being exposed to other “truths” and examining them in an objective way (if that is even possible) can one feel secure that the truth is what one believes or has been brought up to believe.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please feel free to share your gratitude with everyone! We can all use a boost in spirits from time to time! Here’s a sentiment I can relate to!
What’s the worst commercial you’ve recently seen (or heard)? Why was it so bad? This is a hard one because so many are terrible! Most annoying are the Liberty Mutual ads. I would not recommend this company to anyone due to their ubiquitous, stupid ads! Everyone I talk to hates their commercials as much as I do. Also ads for intimate products, like tampons or sanitary pads.
Since you crossed off “recently”, the ads for Folgers Coffee were awful. In one ad, a person says, “Is your coffee grounds for divorce?’ I mean, how tacky!! Another really old Folgers commercial bragged about the “crystals” in its coffee. Who wants crystals in coffee?? Just give me pure, finely ground coffee, please! No additives!
What takes a lot of time but is totally worth it? My hubby says, “love.” Awwww!
So I will say something else: the creative process of seeing a project through to the end. I spend long hours and weeks completing photo albums but I love doing it. I can say that a lot of my blog posts fall into this category as well. They’re time consuming, but fun to do. I’m in an art workshop – same thing. The camaraderie of other people who love art is part of it, but also dedicating 90 minutes a week to painting or drawing something is calming and fun, even if it takes weeks to finish it or to come back to. I’m in a writing group – same thing again. I have written a lot of things, and some of them are quite good, others not so much, but it’s worth the time because it is the creative process that is totally worthwhile, especially when producing a finished product I can be proud of!
Have you ever smiled at a stranger and then wished you hadn’t? Why or why not? Yes, but only because the stranger stared straight ahead and made no attempt to smile back. So rude. Fortunately, where I live now, everyone – whether we know them or not – smiles and says hello!
It’s good to be able to see smiles again after over a year of wearing masks!
What do you think is the nastiest tasting food? (This one might be a recycled question. It’s familiar to me anyhow) Olives. They’re so bitter.
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
Are you at peace with yourself? Your world? Please share, whether you said “yay” or “nay”! Yes, pretty much. Most of the horrors of my life – the failures, dissatisfying experiences, vindictive people – are behind me. In the senior community where I live, we are all retired and we do pretty much what we want and like to do. Most people are friendly and pleasant to be with.
There are many problems in this world, and a few in my life, but I am overall happy and without regrets.
On this Monday Memorial Day, Melanie presents us with some food for thought questions for Share Your World.
What activity instantly calms you? Art, both the pictures I create myself, and those that I color. Both are very relaxing and because I’m good at it, it is usually quite satisfying. I attend a weekly art workshop, where women from our senior community go and do whatever they want to do in their artwork. We admire each other’s work and give each other encouragement. There are two retired art teachers who help us learn new techniques.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done lately? I can’t remember – my short-term memory is terrible. I don’t tend to be spontaneous in big ways.
If people receive a purple heart for bravery, what would other color hearts represent? (Example yellow heart = cowardice) Red heart = love and compassion for others Yellow or orange heart = optimism in the face of adversity Blue heart = calm, keeping one’s wits about oneself. Green heart = advocacy and contribution toward improving the environment, helping our planet; such as an innovation that contributes to a reduction in plastic waste, for example. White or pink heart = volunteerism Rainbow heart = tolerance, acceptance; extraordinary acts to create diversity in our society
What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done or witnessed someone else do? Another hard question! I guess in my case it would be making the decision (and following through) to change careers. I was comfortable & competent, but bored, in what I was doing for a living. When I remarried, it became possible to think about finding a career in which I could use my skills in a more meaningful way. I went into teaching because I felt that what teachers do is so vital; every time I walked into my son’s school, I felt a surge of excitement, like something important was happening there. I did it in spite of advice from my husband and others, in spite of knowing it would be very challenging and difficult for me due to my ADHD, in spite of a it being a time of great tension in the field of education due to increased pressure to show student success through standardized tests (or losing funding if scores were not at a certain level. Remember “No Child Left Behind?” What a disaster!) Bilingual and special ed teachers were especially stressed because our students tended NOT to get great scores on these tests. We were watched more closely and there was little tolerance for mistakes or non-traditional classroom techniques.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
How do you show gratitude to the people you respect? First, by thanking them, hugging them or maybe sending them a card. But mostly by being generous, doing things for them, giving them a gift I know they would particularly like. For example, I have a friend of many years, since our sons were little and playing together. She has been through a lot in her life, including the loss of her husband to cancer and her son to an overdose. She sacrificed much of herself for her son, who had disabilities that were difficult to deal with. She has always worked, and even now cannot afford to retire. She always shows her caring toward others, calling when someone she knows is in difficulty, or visiting someone who is homebound. Unlike me, she has never had a chance to travel abroad except to Canada. She is a very Christian person – I mean strong in her faith, more so than I, so when there was an opportunity to visit the Holy Land with a group from our church, I knew how much she wanted to go, and I paid for her trip. I had the money and the trip was fairly inexpensive. Otherwise, she could not have gone. It made me so happy to see her enthusiasm and awe about everything she experienced while we were in Israel.
I don’t do generous things for people very often, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t remember to do so. Therefore, when I feel strongly that a generous act – something I have the ability to do for someone else – would help a person I love and respect, I do it if they let me.
I used to be impatient and often didn’t bother to understand others, but I think that as I have aged, I have become a better person in that way. I wish I were more of a risk-taker, so I could do much more for others, but I’m not; I’m too comfortable and selfish about my own life and what I want. I’m not a person who jumps to volunteer for a big project, but now I look for opportunities to help someone I care about, in some small, individual way.
Yesterday, in my Who Won the Week post, I wrote about gun violence in America. Mass shoutings and gun violence are controversial topics in this country, so my post generated a lot of comments.
A few comments caught my attention. One commenter seemed to take issue with focusing on the “tools” of gun violence — the guns. She wrote, “My concern is on the dwelling on the tool, known as a gun, as opposed to deeply examining the people and conditions underlying the problem.”
She has a point, but without the so easily accessible “tool,” would those people and underlying conditions be able to produce so many mass shootings in this country?
I responded to her comment, pointing out that “the U.S. has 4% of the world’s population and 42% of its firearms. There are mass shooting nearly every week in this country.” I added, “In May 2019, 50 New Zealanders were killed in a mass shooting. Six days later the country banned all automatic and semiautomatic firearms sales and there have been no more mass shootings since then. Actions speak louder than words. Way louder than thoughts and prayers. It’s time to take action in this country.”
She then replied, “Guns won’t go away. There are too many and they serve a great importance. So, examining other correlations is critical. There are many! New Zealand doesn’t have a 2nd Amendment…certainly an option as a place to go for those who are afraid of our society.”
Actually, with the way things are, I’m not afraid of our society as much as I’m afraid for our society. Anyway, her comment got me thinking about the beloved Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
I do have perspectives regarding the Second Amendment. In fact, I have strong opinions about whether or not it actually applies to the ownership and use of concealed weapons and assault-style rifles.
Let’s review the wording of the Second Amendment: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
So what does it really mean? The opening phrase refers to “a well regulated militia.” What is a militia? According to dictionary.com, a militia is “a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.”
Merriam-webster.com defines it as “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency” or “a body of citizens organized for military service.” Using these definitions of “militia,” most Americans are not members of one.
Now what about well regulated? The free dictionary.com defines well regulated as “controlled or supervised to conform to rules, regulations, tradition, etc.” I suggest that, when it comes to gun ownership, including concealed weapons, open carry, and semiautomatic assault rifles, the notion of “well regulated” is not even close.
Okay, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the framers of the Constitution really did intend for all citizens — well, at least white male citizens — to be armed, should they so choose, regardless of whether they were members of a “well regulated militia.”
But let’s also put this in context of the late 18th Century, when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. This was a time when “standing armies” (e.g., the British Redcoats) were seen as a potential threat to freedom and liberty, and when calling out of the militia required individual soldiers to supply their own weapons.
Plus, the “arms” of that era were single-fire muskets, which, by the way, are impossible to carry around concealed, and flint-lock pistols. According to eHow.com, the steps involved in loading and firing a musket are:
Standing up, set the hammer to “half cock” for safety reasons. You’ll be looking down the barrel quite a bit, and you don’t want the hammer on full cock, which if kicked or dropped, might cause the musket to fire.
Grab a charge out of the box or from your ammo pouch. Tear off the top of the charge with your teeth and keep the ball that was on the top in your mouth. Pour the powder down the barrel. Put the ball of lead into the barrel and put the wadding from the package on top.
Take the ramrod and tamp the powder, the ball, and the wadding into the barrel. The wadding is there to make sure that the ball and gunpowder stay put.
Add some gunpowder to the flash pan below the trigger and fully cock the musket.
Aim for the biggest mass you can on the battlefield because this weapon is not very accurate. Once you’ve set your sights on your target, press the trigger and the hammer will come down. This strikes flint against the pan, causing the gunpowder behind the ball to ignite and the weapon to fire.
At best, a highly trained soldier might have been able to pump out two to four musket shots a minute. Now let’s contrast that with an AR-15, today’s semiautomatic weapon of choice. Using 30 round magazines, it can easily fire off 30 to 45 rounds a minute.
Now think about our Founding Fathers back then, sitting around listening to tunes on their iPhones , texting each other, watching the Patriots game on their 65 inch, flat-panel Ultra High Def TV, or checking what their friends were up to on Facebook or Twitter. Can you seriously believe they had military-grade, semiautomatic assault rifles in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment?
And do gun rights activists and the NRA genuinely feel that it’s necessary for everyday citizens to be able to arm themselves with these assault weapons that are intended to inflict the maximum fatality potential in order to defend their homes or to hunt defenseless wild game?
I’m sorry, folks, but any reasonably thinking human being, even those who support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, can’t possibly justify the availability and use of such assault weapons by other than members of the military — the professional military.
We need to stop the insanity. Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to put public health above special interests and politics.
It’s a new week, and here are Melanie’s new (?) questions for Share Your World. I do feel as though I’ve answered some of these before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
What are you most proud of in the last year?
The artwork I have done. I wish I could say that during the pandemic lock-down, I did artwork every day, but that would not be true. I meant to, but didn’t do it…
Even so, I have produced a number of drawings and watercolors during the past several months, as the rules loosened and we could form a small art group again. I even gave my niece one of my watercolors for her birthday! She had actually asked me to paint “something green and with a waterfall in it,” so that’s what I did.
As a result, I am accumulating a decent portfolio of my artwork. The pieces I am most proud of I will gladly display for viewing if an opportunity arises.
Besides these free-hand works, I did a lot of really nice coloring pages. Maybe that sounds silly, but there are coloring books for adults and I set myself high standards! I’ve had many of the books for several years, but didn’t do much with them until this past year. I used gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or markers, depending on the picture.
If you see a puddle on the ground, do you walk around it or give in to the child within and splash about?
I walk around it, although right now the rain puddles are welcome because we really need rain! We need enough rain to make puddles impossible to avoid! We have been down 8 inches of rain this spring compared to last year, and normal would be 6 inches more than we’ve had. It finally rained last night and today the sprinklers are on!
Do you feel free? Why or why not?
I do benefit from the freedoms afforded to me as a U.S. citizen, good health, and enough money to live on and to travel. So I do consider myself to be “free.” However, we all have our burdens, which hamper our freedom because they tie us down in some way. It’s very liberating when a burden is lifted from my shoulders!
I also feel that the freedoms given to us in the Bill of Rights are not completely unlimited. My freedom ends where another person’s begins. It is not a “freedom” issue, for example, to disobey a mask mandate, just as one has to obey traffic laws, or suffer consequences. Part of living in a society that provides us with many benefits is being responsible to other people living in that society. They have the same freedoms the rest of us do. I don’t have a problem with accepting these responsibilities nor do I think I am not free as a result.
To be totally “free”, perhaps one would have to live alone with no one around to impose rules. I don’t want to live like that.
What life skills are rarely taught but are extremely useful?
Money management. My dad tried to teach us how to manage money, but he didn’t succeed very well with me – probably because I wasn’t listening! However, I did learn on my own how to make a budget and make sure I had enough income to pay my expenses. Even so, I wasted a lot of savings because I didn’t plan for the future.
I think there are a lot of young people who never had a class on money management. But what if they win the lottery or get hired to be on a major league sports team? Suddenly they have a lot of money, but not necessarily the skills to make sure they don’t lose it! Some lucky people take having money for granted, and they blow it all on get-richer schemes or lavish entertainment. Tales of riches-to-rags are as prevalent as tales of rags-to-riches! For most people, having enough money takes hard work and sacrifices.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please share some gratitude with everyone! There are lots of reasons just now I think!
I am grateful for my legs. Although I have arthritis pain in my knees, my legs can still take me where I want to go. I am grateful for my arms, which finally can be used to hug people again! I am grateful for my hands, which are used to take photos or create nice pictures, and to write. I am grateful for my eyes, which, although severely myopic, let me read books and see the world. I am grateful for my brain, befuddled as it is. I have put it to great use in all the intellectual pursuits of my life. Since I am expressing gratitude, I will not list its shortcomings! I am grateful for my ears, which can listen to music, such as one of my favorite songs performed by Cat Stevens…
Last year I planted strawberries (transplanted from my former garden) in back of our new house. This year, the plants have spread and are blooming! Whether or not we’ll get strawberries remains to be seen, but meanwhile, these pretty little white flowers hold the promise of delicious fruit!
What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence? plastic bags – actually a lot of things made of plastic… However, I’m not sure I can call plastic bags “inanimate” – they fly through the air, roll down streets, get caught in trees…and end up suffocating unsuspecting marine animals when they drift into lakes and oceans. One of our most serious pollution problems is the proliferation of discarded plastics. Most end up in landfills, either in this country or abroad, such as in Indonesia, where the plastic trash problem is becoming severe.
Although we think we are doing our part in diligently recycling all the #1, 2, 4, and 5 plastics (which is what most municipal recycling programs allow), the fact is that only about 15% of all that supposedly recyclable plastic actually gets recycled! Actually, grocery plastic bags and any other plastic bag labeled #4 can be collected and taken back to the supermarket – most supermarkets have deposit bins for plastic bags just inside the front entrance to the store. Although I will continue to recycle (because I don’t know which items are really being recycled), I now believe that “reduce” and “reuse” are the better ways to go until cost-efficient recycling becomes widespread.
Some cities and states have banned plastic bags and I think many European countries have also. Next time you shop, take your own reusable bags – if the cashier says they can’t take them because of Covid, you can offer to pack the bags yourself. If you buy produce, don’t put it in the plastic bags provided; either put it into your cart loose, or bring mesh bags from home to put it in. We have to change our wasteful habits if we want future generations to be able to continue living on this planet!
I recommend watching the PBS program Frontline‘s documentaryPlastic Wars. If this link doesn’t work, try finding it on YouTube.
What tells you the most about a person? A person’s actions determine one’s values and character. People who are generous and kind show this in their concern for others and always offering to help. There are many people who claim they are kind or caring, yet they never actually demonstrate this trait. There are also lots of hypocrites, people who say one thing and do another, or expect others to follow certain rules, but when a situation affects them, to hell with the rules! (I’m thinking of many politicians, particularly many in the GOP.) Often our leaders don’t realize that what they do influences society at large. I think that since the 1980s, and particularly during the last four years, the values and civility of our society have greatly eroded. People have become greedy and rude, and are no longer afraid to show blatantly racist attitudes and behavior, and there seems to be a direct correlation of this lack of civility with the growing inequality in our society.
What is something you thought would be easy until you tried it? Ziplining. My one experience with it was rather frightening and I will never be persuaded to do it again!
What ridiculous and untrue, yet slightly plausible, theories can you come up with for the cause of common ailments like headaches or cavities? Chocolate: this tempting and delicious substance is actually evil in disguise! It is so easy to get addicted to this “food of the gods” and yet, it insidiously poisons your body systems, causing headaches, toothaches due to cavities, and even the common cold! Even if you are diligent with your dental hygiene, including daily flossing, and balancing sweets with healthy foods like broccoli, it is too late – once the chocolate is in your body, you can never get rid of its devilish effects unless you go through a thorough cleansing regimen and commit to abstaining from chocolate forever! If you do these things, you will be much healthier!
(Ah, the heck with it! I’ll take the headaches and cavities rather than give up chocolate! After all, we only live once!!)
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
What are you grateful for since they ‘cured’ Covid? (yeah, I realize it’s not cured. But at least the vaccine is available and restrictions have eased up in many places. If that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen I suppose).
Being able to walk around outside without a mask! It is great to breathe the air directly instead of through the filter of a mask! People can now see each other’s smiles again, and it is much easier to understand what people are saying when they don’t have to wear a mask.
Also, it is great to be able to hug again!!
*Note: As I wrote my responses, I tended to get very serious and possibly self-righteous, so please forgive me. I don’t mean to lecture anybody, but I think we as a society or as a species need to consider more carefully the things we do and take for granted.
I always look forward to Mondays, when Melanie issues a new set of questions for Share Your World. Her questions this week are quite thought-provoking, so I’d better get started!
What do you believe but cannot prove? The existence of God. God is seen differently by people; there may be almost as many ideas of God as there are believers. For me, God is within each individual and in nature. God is a force rather than an actual being. But I do believe in the power of prayer, so I guess sometimes I believe – when it’s convenient – that God does “listen” to prayers and perhaps helps things happen (or not). It is a comfort to me, at least, and it also is a comfort to others to know that people are praying on their behalf. In fact, there have been scientific studies of the power of prayer, and what was concluded is that knowing that a community of people who care about you bolsters your will to get better (or improve whatever the situation is). People are saying that they support you and are concerned about your suffering. It can actually motivate people to fight harder against a disease like cancer.
Do animals have morals? Exclude human beings from the equation please. Why exclude humans? Are we any more moral than animals? Sometimes I think not!
Anyway, I don’t believe animals have morals, not really, although some do have compassion. Having morals requires one to be able to imagine different scenarios and outcomes, and to be able to judge others’ actions. I am not convinced animals can do that. However, there is much about animals – particularly the most intelligent ones – that we don’t know. Dolphins have been observed helping people in trouble. Elephants also help each other when one is in distress. Whales use a complex system of sounds to communicate with each other. I always marvel at the natural world, because animals have developed adaptations to all kinds of environments and situations. But I don’t think that they can imagine the future or alternate situations. Possibly chimpanzees or gorillas, but only in a limited capacity.
People often pose the question of what makes humans different from other animals. It is our brain’s capacity to reason, analyze, synthesize, and imagine. Unfortunately, these capacities do not necessarily lead to better behavior than an animal might display. We make choices, often the wrong ones, which affect not only our own lives, but also the lives of others, including animals.
Is there inherent order in nature or is it all chaos and chance? I believe there is inherent order, but we do not understand it completely. Science is constantly revising its hypotheses about the universe/natural world, as new discoveries are made. There is an order, but we have yet to really know that order. I read an article recently about scientists at Fermilab discovering erratic behavior by the tiny particles called muons. They have observed the muons deviating from whatever it is they do, which can alter scientific theories about how the universe works. It’s amazing that this tiny particle, whose existence has only been known for a few decades, can influence so much of scientific theory that was believed to be based on solid evidence.
Where is your least favorite place in the world? Somewhere that I’ve never been. Someplace cold and desolate. I probably will never visit places such as Antarctica or Greenland; I have heard that Antarctica, at least, is well worth a trip, and I would love to see the penguins. But I cannot imagine living through months of darkness and frigid cold day after day. Alaska is beautiful but I wouldn’t want to live there. So my “least favorite place” might be different depending on whether that place is my least favorite place to visit or least favorite place to live.
There is one place that I don’t think I would even want to visit – it’s the only place in the world that I can think of – and that is North Korea.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Participation Always Optional)
Feel free to share something about the seasons that makes you smile!
I am capable of smiling during any season, but I will focus on the current season of spring. I love flowers and they make me smile. Here is a poem I wrote several years ago about my garden, which is mostly about the flowers of spring.
HAIKU: THE GARDEN 4/26/14
Snow drops rise early to cheer the winter weary: delicate white orbs.
Crocuses give hope when purple flowers appear – spring will arrive soon.
Yellow daffodils herald the coming of spring with their bright trumpets.
Tulip leaves unfold, hiding their buds until May brings colorful blooms.
The lilac bush makes fragrantly scented flowers in lavender clusters.
The rose bush’s thorns keep gardeners at bay for red blossoms in June.
Aromatic herbs spice up the gardener’s meals; worthy of wild growth!
Gardeners’ reward is the harvest of summer: Beauty, fragrance, food.
Speaking of fragrance, lilacs are in bloom everywhere here! They are beautiful and smell heavenly!
Would you rather be a super nice person and be depressed all your life, or be happy and a total *sshole? (Credit goes to Cyranny for this question, aired on one of her “Cyranny’s Quickies” posts.) I would like to rebel as some respondents have, and try to recombine these choices. But, having a loved one who suffers from depression and because I’m reading a book about the subject in order to understand it better (the cover of that book appears below), I do not see “depression” and “being nice” as a dichotomy. Yup, here I go, taking this questions perhaps WAY too seriously! But that’s what happens when I’m involved in something that is really a very complex question. So please forgive me for overthinking this seemingly binary choice!
I definitely would not want to be an a-hole in any condition and I doubt it would make me happy. Although I suppose there are plenty of happy people who are oblivious to the fact that they are cruel jerks – or they just don’t care. It wouldn’t be me, though. I have too strong a moral compass and always feel guilty when I treat someone badly.
That said, it is perfectly logical to be both nice and depressed. For one thing, very few people are depressed “all the time.” Depression comes and goes. When someone is in a deep depression, they often isolate themselves, cut themselves off from friends and family. People close to them see the warning signs and then may try to intervene.
When someone suffering from depression is NOT depressed, however, he or she seems like a completely different person! When they are not depressed, people who suffer from this mental illness are often quite nice people. Why, you may ask? It may seem like a contradiction, but actually it isn’t. Because there is such a contrast between the depressed and normal states, these people tend to appreciate life and other people more when they are feeling ‘normal’. They feel things acutely and tend to be very sensitive. They are often empathetic (that is, when they are not depressed). They know what it is like to suffer greatly, and know that during their normal state, they should enjoy life and accomplish as much as they can, because they also know that the darkness and isolation – the abyss – will return. The best time for them to seek help with their mental illness is when they are feeling good, because during depression, they can hardly get out of bed, much less do something constructive. When they are depressed and thus miss an event they looked forward to attending, they feel really bad about that, and know that most people at the event probably didn’t expect them to attend, but would have been pleasantly surprised if they had showed up. They live with a lot of guilt, but they usually take that out on themselves, not on other people. (It’s true that the suicide rates are much higher among depressives than non-depressives.) They do invariably hurt people, but usually unintentionally, so you can’t say they are fundamentally a-holes.
So if I had to choose, I would rather be nice and depressed. First of all, the depression doesn’t last forever, and nowadays there is plenty of help for depression, in the form of medications and therapy. New drugs are constantly being put on the market that improve on earlier ones, because medical understanding of depression constantly improves. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others, and different combinations, to try.
Believe me, I don’t desire to be depressed! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! But as you have posed an either/or choice, this is my reasoning for choosing depression and being nice.
Have you ever made someone cry? Of course – even though I’m nice and not an a-hole, I am not perfect! I’m sure I’ve made my son cry, but I can’t remember the last time that was.
Are you a dreamer or a go-getter? I’m a dreamer and unfortunately, not a go-getter. It would be better to act on my dreams, and to some extent I have, but I am not one of those assertive, in-your-face types.
If you were in a band, what instrument would you play? Probably the piano, because it’s the only instrument I have ever learned to play. But instruments don’t have to be external – I consider my voice an instrument, and so I would be the singer. I sing much better than I play the piano anyway.
Do you feel gratitude is necessary? Yes, or rather I feel it SHOULD be necessary. Everyone should feel gratitude about the good things in life, or the people who have touched them. It is necessary for ME, anyway, to feel gratitude. I try to stop and count my blessings or appreciate my life in some way every day.
I greatly appreciate the following song and am grateful that John Lennon gave us his talents until his tragic death in 1980.