Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Blues


We all know that life has its ups and downs. We somehow accept the ups as natural and the downs as treatable. A huge segment of western society is based on eliminating, alleviating, and curing the blues. Yet deigning the blues is deigning what makes us human. The blues suck and now I have them.

I ask myself why am I in this state. My projects are going great, I love Samoa and its people, my co-volunteers are wonderful, my wife is supportive, and I don’t even have any issues with the Peace Corps Administrators. There is no apparent reason for my mental condition.

Past bouts with the blues have lead me to seek its causes in others and outside of myself. This process gives me temporary relief and a superior feeling of blaming others. It is a quick fix but doesn’t guarantee the recurrence of the blues.

This morning I looked in the mirror. There starring at me was the source of my blues. Me. How could I be so stupid not to realize my blues are simply the readjustment of my expectations with the reality of my situation?

To eliminate the blues I would have to forgo expectations or even worse reality! I somehow have to come to grips with the fact that my wishes may not come true. I have to learn from my Samoan villagers to accept the downs of life on fate as I would accept life’s gifts. I need to smell the flowers around my house, make a lei of them, and give it to someone else. I need to step back, create new expectations and be ready to accept my fallibility whenever my expectations clash with oncoming reality.

Let the blues come. I don’t like you, but I know that the crest follows the trough. I want to enjoy the thrill of rough seas.


Teri said...

This moved me, dad. What a great philosophy you describe. If more people were able (content,even) to do their best at something they truly love doing while at the same time letting go of expectations for the outcome, there would likely be fewer cases of true depression.

As your time in Samoa lengthens, it will also be interesting to see if your definition of success is changed. This is something I've been thinking about in terms of what Peace Corps service means to the individuals who undertake it.

The way I see it, having a case of the blues is always an opportunity for personal growth.

Anonymous said...

Ben Hansen says, "When Life gives you blues, make blueberries"... or something like that.