I had a pretty horrific week last week – and I can’t attribute it to one single thing. It was just a series of “you gotta be kidding me” moments.
The cancer returned in the body of one of my closest friends, who, by the way, is 10 years younger than me. A guy I went to high school with started vomiting blood and just keeled over and died. My old fightin’ Tiger pals have been reduced to communicating with texts that say “autopsy pending.”
I didn’t really know the guy who died and I don’t think it’s fair to dramatize some sort of grief over it, but it was just one of those … “wait, what?” kind of things. People in their 30s aren’t supposed to die, and they’re not supposed to have cancer.
I feel like I haven’t slept in six months. I’m running on empty. I’m old and tired and hungry and thirsty and my brain just doesn’t quite work like it used to. My car is in the shop and I broke my glasses.
I just need a reset button, like on a video game where instead of finishing out the game and getting crushed by warlocks or whatever, you hit “start new game” and you get to start over with five new lives.
The worst part of it is I’m just so … irritable. I kind of want to stab the next person I see in a Facebook video putting on eyeliner.
And guys, I get it that no one cares about my life. The reason I write these “dear diary” columns is that it holds me accountable. Once I read my words on the page I realize that I sound like a little brat and need to suck it up and be grateful.
And I believe that these bad experiences can be teachable moments. If someone is toxic, you don’t have to be friends with them. If someone annoys you on social media, change your settings, stop watching them put on their makeup or better yet, get off Facebook altogether. It’s not their problem; it’s my problem. And maybe, just maybe, I’m the one who needs to change.
I can pray for others, but I can’t change them. I can, however, change myself.
One thing I try to remember is that there’s always a silver lining. There’s always something I can gain from my bad day or bad week.
In spite of all this drama, I recognize that I am truly blessed. I have the best job in the world. I’ve had some great recent conversations with my sister, which is a rare gift that I really treasure. The death of the guy from high school offered an opportunity to start a dialogue with some people I haven’t talked to in a long time. I got an email a couple of weeks ago from a reader who said some really nice things about my writing. The friend with cancer inspires me to soldier through my own old-person ailments.
I have my health, I have a loving, supportive family and I am employed. Everything else is going to come together. In fact, sometimes it takes a crisis to grow stronger in faith.
I think sometimes we need to remember to breathe and to be thankful for the situation we’re in, even if it’s not exactly where we’d like to be. Complaining doesn’t accomplish anything positive but it does alienate people – and then we wonder why we don’t have a lot of close friends!
My advice to myself is this: Your life ain’t that hard. You don’t risk your life every day. You don’t suffer from severe illness. You have people who love you and will pick up the phone when you call. Your greatest challenge is trying to get the Blue Apron recipe to look the same as it does in the picture.
And if you fail, and if you have a bad day, you will rise up.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.