Its been a rough several weeks. As described in a previous post, my last grandparent passed away only a couple weeks ago. Both before and since that unfortunate date, I’ve had to deal with a variety of other concerns and stresses, creating what has proven to be a testing start to the Summer.
I went to Greenville to celebrate the Memorial Day break with the annual Richardson family crawfish boil. I quickly learned that my grandmother, who was living in Louisiana, was quite unwell. My mother was to fly down to stay with her and her brothers that Monday with an uncertain return date. That story is described in greater depth in the blog linked above.
I returned to Charleston from a muted Memorial Day with my family to discover that my apartment had become infested with termites. I have two large windows looking out over an active construction site, and in only a matter of days, a swarm of flying insects had made both rooms with the large windows almost unlivable. I contacted our property managers immediately, but both of them happened to be on vacation at the same time. I reached out to our single full-time building maintenance manager, but he too was out of town. I was forced to live an entire week with flying termites in my apartment before anyone was able to address the issue, the first time. The gnawed holes in the walls were eventually patched, the dead termites were swept off the floor, and all was clear for a few days. The termites returned the following week, and I was forced to stay several nights in a hotel. This appears to have been finally resolved with the hiring of professional exterminators, after two full weeks.
Projects and tasks at work continue to escalate. A colleague of mine is about three weeks away from going on maternity leave, and I’ve been asked to fill her role while she’s out – in addition to maintaining all the tasks and responsibilities I have now. I’ve begun easing into that role, slowly taking over her various meetings and communication channels. This has not been unexpected. I’ve known and expected the increased level of chaos for weeks, but now that it is becoming a reality, I find myself continually needing more and more hours in the days to not fall behind.
I’ve not even mentioned the many other peripheral annoyances that have remained constant, nagging itches in the back of my mind. The wide variety of frustrations include late package arrivals, issues with canceling my cell service, a hotel charging the wrong credit card, and on, and on. All these little issues just stack on top of all the larger stresses mentioned above and frequently seem to get closer and closer to becoming the proverbial back breaking straw.
So what is there to do? Is there anything to do at all? It is incredibly difficult to just endure layer after layer of these various dramas then participate in everyday circumstances chipper and lively as ever. Hunter Thompson said, “just as some people turn to religion to find meaning, the writer turns to his craft and tries to impose meaning, or to lift the meaning out of chaos and put it in order.” I’m attempting just that here and now, but the irony is that perhaps on occasion, there is no meaning to be found. Perhaps sometimes life is just tough.
It takes time. It helps to have a friend to hold your hand while life kicks you in the ass. It helps to have others to empathize and be melancholy with, but sometimes, life is just tough. Frequently, life is just tough. But what else is there to do than simply keep on keeping on? Get depressed? Get angry? Neither of those seem like reasonable ways to spend any time at all. I’m not saying to immediately try to suck it up, forget all the problems, and force a smile. Don’t rush your healing; darkness has its teachings. Our ass-kickings will hurt and bruise but will eventually heal, and if we stay positive, we’ll be stronger for having had and made it through the experience. And so we persist.