If You Worry About Tomorrow

Depression.

It’s like cancer. Either you’ve had it or you love someone who’s had it. And it comes in a huge variety. Like headaches. Benign and fleeting or heavy and serious and in rare cases, deadly.

Feeling depressed here and there is leaps and bounds from chronic debilitating depression that interferes with your relationships and passions and work and everything else…but mostly your natural state. Your birth right. Your happiness.

What is happiness anyways? I think it comes from the joy we find in the moment.

I’m sitting here in my bathrobe, nursing Skyla while Giovanna draws with a pen in Daddy’s old notebook, pondering depression and happiness and joy. I’ve had a bad morning and I’m sad and I’m wondering when things will get easier and when I won’t feel so bewildered by life. 

The sun just broke through a few clouds, bringing with it an immense shining of gratitude. I want to climb out of the hole but I can’t find the first step. So I ask myself, what’s Good about this moment? 

The sky. The lake. The abundance of trees. The sweet fuzzy head between my arms. The curly talking head to my right. The laptop beneath my fingers. The people on the other side of my phone. 

If you stop enjoying that which you once loved, day after day and week after week, I hope you seek help in a professional or a loved one or both. This is the kind of depression that needs treatment, though I’m sure there are as many definitions of depression as there are people who experience it. Likewise, depression does not arise from an isolated reason but from a complex web of experiences, past and present; the tangles in your auric field.

And then there’s the anxiety that either contributes to depression or is often a byproduct of depression. Suffice it to say that depressed people have a lot to worry about, and people who worry have a lot to be depressed about. The world is just so damn scary and evil and hard. Even white middle-class Americans like myself know that things can fall apart in a second, and nothing is guaranteed. When we have our basic needs met, we have everything to lose. What’s more, we have expectations. We want to know deep satisfaction and purpose and maybe even a certain version of “success.” Maybe we don’t believe ordinary is enough; maybe we want more. We think happiness is something to find or have or keep or achieve.

A loved one recently shared with me a transcontinental conversation with a loved one of her own, an African man who is happy in spite of living in poverty. He makes $30 per month, most of which goes to his daughter’s school fees and medical care. He lives with no running water, no electricity, but plenty of death. He said that because of the struggle to survive, Africans live only day to day and don’t worry about tomorrow.

In other words, they live in the moment, and not because they’re trying to be zen or mindful. If they get to eat today, then today is a good day.

He said: if you worry about tomorrow, you’ll go mad.

Simple truths are often the most profound, the most important to digest and understand.

May we remember this when we find ourselves in billows of stress. May we take this to heart when we become paralyzed by anxiety. May we focus on enjoying the moment rather than preparing for the future. May we practice looking for the Good so our minds stay healthy. May we turn down the volume so we can live in peace.

Just do what you can, now.

gandhi

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13 thoughts on “If You Worry About Tomorrow

  1. I’ve recently struggled with trying to find what happiness is and I really think my blogs helped me do that but I love your line, ‘What is happiness anyways? I think it comes from the joy we find in the moment.’

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    1. I agree. Blogging is very cathartic. It’s why we do it, right? I mean, realistically, it’s not for the money or the success or the fame. It’s for the love of it. And love seems to go hand in hand with happiness. Thanks for visiting.

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  2. Depression is such a hot topic for me–I have the deep, debilitating kind. And sometimes I can’t recognize when I am happy. Thank you for this reminder to look at today, this moment and find the beautiful in it.

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    1. Oh dear Jessica, and this is why you are a writer and why you can write well, because you know intimately the full spectrum of human emotions. It hurts to wade through those lows, but when we write about it, the pain becomes something almost sweet. xoxo

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  3. I love this, Lucy, and that quote! I think having a new baby and growing your family are both very hard. I think in the process of being so busy in the newness of all that, in trying to make sense of all that, it’s easy to experience worry, sadness, anxiety. It’s easy to wonder, “When will things ever feel the same? Or normal? When will I feel normal?” As one who’s done it (and is doing it) I say, do what you can. Live in this moment with your girls. Embrace your emotions and the truth that this too shall pass. And since it shall pass, revel in it. Things will return to normal soon. Your life will make sense soon. Until then, write when you can. Work when you can. Eat when you can. Love always. I hope this helps, friend. xo.

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    1. Beautifully said, Jessica. This is a comment I have and will read over and over again. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I don’t know why I do this but I allow very little wiggle room for myself. I try to do everything and I never feel like I’m doing enough. My house is never clean enough, we never eat “healthy” enough, I never write enough, I never have enough readers, I never give my family enough attention, etc. The thought that I am enough even in my gigantic imperfections makes me emotional. And it’s taken me forever to admit that this is a problem. But it also feels good. Like maybe I can learn to take all of those nevers out and replace them with always. xoxo

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  4. This was the perfect post for me to read at this very moment. I’m struggling to find the “happy” even though it’s right in front of me, and always has been.

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  5. Wow, loved the line about simple truths. I often find that though they are the most important, they are also sometimes the HARDEST to digest and apply. Great post, looking forward to reading more 🙂

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