"Let your yeah be yeah and your no be no now." - Pioneers, Let Your Yeah Be Yeah
In a meeting this morning, someone claimed that today was the most miserable day of the year. While a little googling revealed that, actually, consensus was that Blue Monday was last week, it still felt apt as I have been thinking a lot about my lows rather than my highs lately.
Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn't me much of a story. But in life? -The Sense of An Ending
Tony, the protagonist in Julian Barnes's thoughtful novella, wonders about this. I wonder, too. I've written over the years about the faults in my character I care to change -- my great master of avoidance; that I often feel disconnected from those I care most; that I tend to supress my own emotions when around those who "feel" more expressively. I have internal conversations regularly with myself when I catch myself doing this. I demand change. I bargain the terms. And then...what? Not much. I still avoid those challenging conversations. I still don't face my odd anxieties around familial connection or deeper friendships on a consistent basis. I still give up my emotional rights more often than not.
All in service of keeping the peace.
It's a masterful lie I tell myself.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately because there has been the perfect storm of these kinds of situations. Old friends reaching out for connection that I have avoided for years now. My emotionally expressive wife. My parents rightful demand for my attention.*
And I'm a bit emotionally cocooned up here. In here. Still. After nearly 37 years.
Will I develop over time? I wonder...
Still today is not anywhere near a miserable one. My new car arrives shortly. I had a great business lunch and productive meetings. The weather is perfect. My home is happy. I feel loved. And alive. In The Sense of An Ending, Tony feels like he's settled. Trading passion for self-preservation.
In truth, that isn't my world at all. There is passion. And decadence. Desire. And risk.
I could probably stand for a few more tantrums and heated arguments and emotional openness in my life but on most days, like today, I am far on the opposite side of sad or depressed.
Save your Blue Mondays for somebody else.
*And just to belabor the point, I thought long and hard about including what, to me, is a paragraph filled with potential conflict. Oy, I got problemz.