As I pulled into the driveway this evening after finishing up a long work week, my youngest came running into the garage to greet me. She stopped short, looked at me and asked, “Why are you so sad, Mommy?”
It seems lately she’s asked me that question a lot. I am quick to reassure her. “I’m not sad, sweetie. I’m just tired.” That is not a lie. I am tired. Some days I think I was born tired. My mini-me follows me into the dining room and continues to ask me, “What’s wrong?” Again I reiterate that “nothing’s wrong.” Yet, she continues her interrogation, “Please tell me!” she pleads. I’m starting to feel exasperated with her and try my best to convince her that “I’m fine.” I’m not sure if she bought it or not though, but she finally let it go – for now.
I look in the mirror and study my reflection. I guess I do look a bit sad. I think I might just have resting, “sad face” and I force myself to smile. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I am filled with gratitude. So much so I should be shining with happiness, but my little one is right. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I have been feeling a little down lately. I’ve turned to comfort foods and sitting on my porch with a nice glass of wine. I go out with my brilliant friends and I laugh. Yet still somehow deep down, I still feel an aura of sadness and negative energy seems to follow me around. I’m not quite sure how to shake it off. Do I push myself outside my comfort zone and socialize more or turn into myself and go into hibernation mode to recharge? I haven’t decided yet.
I think it comes back to the overall feeling of discourse that we as a county are amidst. Where ever you turn there is another story of despair, conflict and meanness. I know without a doubt that absorbing myself in that world does bring me down. I like to read and know what’s going on in the world around me. I thrive on on knowledge and looking at topics from different points of view. I whole-heartedly believe that there is more than one right answer. What I find most distressful is the lack of respect we seem to have for each other. With the popularity of social media platforms, it is easier to call people names and write them off as “stupid,” than it is to really listen to what each other thinks. We’ve let the “agree to disagree” mindset die and tend to quickly cast others with differing ideas as nefarious or stupid. If I elimated name-calling, arrogance and condensation from Twitter, my feed would be very short. It is so easy to get sucked on to that band wagon — no matter what “side” you are on. Why can’t “both/and” replace the “either/or” mentality? People would be much happier.
A few weeks ago I went to a Joe Crookston concert in a neighboring town. He commented on how music can connect and bring us together no matter our differences. He began playing the beginning notes of a song that he said everyone would recognize no matter how old or young, Democrats and Republicans and anyone inbetween. He then began to sing “Amazing Grace.” Sure enough everyone in the audience knew the words and joined in. His words resonated with me. It wasn’t more than a week or two later that Ed Sheeran’s song “What Do I Know” came on the radio as I was driving my kids from one activity to the next.
The chorus of his song goes like this:
“We could change this whole world with a piano
Add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go
I’m just a boy with a one-man show
No university, no degree, but lord knows
Everybody’s talking ’bout exponential growth
And the stock market crashing and their portfolios
While I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote
Sing, love could change the world in a moment
But what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment
But what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment.”
Music tends to move me and this song really nailed what I’ve been feeling lately. Music is a common language that connects and makes that world a better place. A song or a melody or the first bars of a song can take you back in time and lift your spirit.
Maybe I am a sucker for the happy endings and the positive beat, but it feels a hell of a lot better when my daughter asks me “what are you smiling about?” This weekend I’m going to X out of the negative. I’m going to binge watch the Hallmark Channel, sit on my porch with the sun in my face, and ask Alexa to play upbeat music in the living room:)
How do you pull yourself out of the doldrums? I can always use more smiles.