I can’t remember which writer it was who said he was rather proud to live in a country where the highest expression of contentment was the phrase, “Mustn’t grumble.”
I rather like that comfortable understatement.
It compares very well to other, more caustic replies to, “How are you?”; the, “Peachy, Jim – just peachy,” or “Livin’ the dream,” said in a flat-toned voice. My favourite is the tee-shirt phrase, “I’m up. I’m dressed. What more do you want?”
We can’t be happy all the time; it’s unrealistic.
Life grows on you though – just like fungus. Hah! Not mushroom for joy in that phrase, is there?
Because Life is a bitch and then you die. If the blue bird of happiness lands on your shoulder, then chances are, he’ll defecate all down your back.
I’ve been reading Mark Mason recently; he wrote “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” More specifically, I’ve been reading his “Life is a Video Game – These are the Cheat Codes.” Manson points out that life presents us with a never-ending stream of challenges. Our job is not to try to control the challenges (that way madness lies), but to control our reactions to those challenges and to complete the levels of life (staying alive, creating relationship, enjoying satisfying work and leaving a legacy). Of course, the one who reaches the highest level in the game gets to have the best funeral. Because that’s the thing about life: it’s inevitably fatal.
If all this sounds a bit grim, then please bear with me.
Most of you reading this will face the particular challenge of depression or bipolar disorder. Regardless of any other challenges in our lives, this illness shadows everything. One of the reasons I like that tee-shirt phrase above is that, at times, just getting out of bed and putting clothes on is a victory. If you manage a shower too, then you’re a real hero!
The real victory however, is not in the getting up, getting dressed, getting to work or feeding the children and getting them off to school. The real victory is in our attitude to this challenge of depression.
Like any illness, none of us asked for it. I think all of us would love to be free of it. But, even with medication, that’s rarely possible.
But what we cannot do is embrace victimhood. What will not win us the video game is grumbling and negativity. Maybe we can’t be little rays of bright sunshine through the blackness of depression, but if we can take the smallest glint of humour and express the least bit of gratitude for something, then it’s a start.
So, I’m off to play the game of life, as happily, dreamily and peachily as possible, even through challenges. And, if life grows on me mushroomily, then – I always did like fried mushrooms for breakfast!
Mustn’t grumble, and all that.
A Moodscope member.