This post was originally written in late 2014 or early 2015 but was never published. Apparently, I didn’t take my own advice…again.
Ne’er pull your hat upon your brows.
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break. (Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3)
I’ve loved that passage from Macbeth since I first heard it. Unfortunately, I haven’t always lived by those words.
For the most part I’m upbeat and content—I have to be! I try to never sweat the small stuff, and I tend to sail through life brushing off any nonsense that comes my way.
The best car I ever had was totaled, and I went broke on rentals while trying to sort out the mess—to no avail. Hey, no problem!
Student loan debt has nearly doubled thanks to that “low” interest rate. Hey, no problem!
I found out my best friend passed away just five minutes before a significant job interview? Hey, no problem! I had to trudge on as if nothing had happened.
But I’m human, and I can’t guard against everything that flies my way.
So what breaks through the barrier? Occasionally, when I reach my fill, everything does: songs, TV shows, news stories, holidays, another forgotten birthday, you name it! Often it’s just a case of winter blues, and it fades as the sunshine returns. (That “sunlight” lamp at work helped, too! Great investment.) But a few things bug me all year long.
Long ago, I lost my tolerance for bigotry and hate. It used to make me angry, but as I get older, it saddens me more than anything. I’ll never fathom how people, many of whom have children, are content to leave the world in WORSE shape than they found it. That’s what hate does.
Greed and selfishness. See above. The greedy and hoarders of wealth are NOT improving the world, and they should not be hailed as great heroes of innovation, art, or business. It’s just the same old game with new tools and material goals. (This doesn’t mean people who truly ARE talented and contribute to the world shouldn’t be rewarded. But who needs $50 billion? No one.)
Cronyism and elitism. A layer added to the above, those who think people with the most money are automatically more qualified to lead (or rule) those who have less are just setting the world up for disaster. Even worse than the greedy who believe this are those with very little who support the idea. You aren’t doing your children or grandchildren any favors.
Inhumanity. Anyone who abuses others physically, sexually, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, are all just monsters among us, posing as humans. They also make me sad for the future, because this behavior is far too often rewarded, even if by indifference. On a basic level, this extends to one-sided relationships of any sort.
Shallowness. Don’t get me wrong—I love levity and whimsy as much as anyone. But people who lack any depth are just sad to me, in part because they breed indifference to all of the above. And we celebrate glass-eyed twits by giving them “reality” shows, awards, and recording contracts.
There are few people with whom I’d ever dare confide everything. I learned long ago to keep things clean and simple—people have their own drama and don’t need mine. But never giving sorrow words isn’t good for the soul, either.