I'm So Shallow... but Maybe We All Are!

Sorry I haven't blogged for a few days. I won't make a habit of dropping out like that.

As I told you Wednesday, I had gum surgery that left me needing some major league pain medication and a pretty limited diet. On top of that, this past week was the worst ever for my hay fever and allergies. So Friday, as I was sitting at my desk watching the market plummet on the news of the Bear Stearns bailout, I was starting to feel pretty depressed and sorry for myself. Just about then, a good friend called and asked me how I was doing.

I'm sure he expected the standard, almost required, answer. But he is a good enough friend that I knew he could handle it if I dumped on him, so I told him my troubles. He listened and then said, "Well I think I can brighten your day."

It turns out that his daughter is doing a high school project and was assigned to interview a number of people over 50 years old about their recollections of the day JFK was assassinated. When my friend suggested my name, she resisted. "He's not over fifty," she objected.

Suddenly, it was as if the clouds lifted and rays of sunshine poured in the window. Now I know that high school girls as a rule are not very adept at guessing the ages of us older folks, just as I am getting less and less able to guess the age of young folks, but just for a few minutes, I was in my forties again. And what made it even better is that my friend is 50, so obviously, my first comment to him was, "Does that mean she thinks you're older than me?"

Now there are a few lessons that can be learned from this experience (I mean other than the fact that I'm pretty shallow :-). One is that it's good to have a friend or friends in your life with whom you can be honest when they ask how you're doing. This is, of course, a two way street, and this particular friend has been both the "dumper" and the "dumpee" over our many years of friendship. (In many cases, our spouses fill this role, but in this case, the "Platinum wife" was out of town for a few days.)

Another lesson is that it's often not the major things that bring us down but rather a succession of lesser setbacks. You may remember that I blogged on this before, in an article called "Happiness Is ... Maybe Not What You Think It Is."
In a week, the gums will be healed, the allergy symptoms gone, and the markets more stable (Well, I'm not entirely sure about that last one :-), and happiness will reign again. So I shouldn't have let those annoyances get me down. But human nature is such that we often gird ourselves against the big stuff, and then can get blindsided by lesser problems.

I'm glad my friend called when he did, but I was just thinking about one of my first articles, "What would That Platinum Guy Do?" Whenever you let yourself get depressed, and I do mean LET YOURSELF, you are making a choice. When I made my choice, I forgot to ask myself that question, which has worked very successfully for me previously.

Anyway, I'm still feeling crappy (physically), but inside, I'm a 40 year old again (and I'll be blogging daily again to prove it). After all, isn't 60 now considered "the new 40" anyway? :-) Bob


MoneyBlogga said…
I enjoyed your post but I'm not so sure that I agree with your cavalier statement about depression. I feel the need to let you know that depression isn't a "choice". For those of us that live with it, a magic pill (I won't say bullet, because, well, you know.....) would be absolutely wonderful. I try to never "let" myself be depressed but, wouldn't you know it, that snake creeps up on me anyway, sometimes without me even realizing it. Until I'm in a slump that's lasted a couple of days. Then I realize it. And I try to snap out of it. But believe me when I tell you, depression is NOT a choice. If it were, there wouldn't be such a thing as mental illness. I'm happy for you that your brain doesn't turn on you and bring you down, to sometimes "let" you think that you'd be better off six feet under. I'm happy for you that your brain hasn't rebelled. Yet. It sucks. And it ruins lives. Trust me when I tell you that I know this for a fact.
Bob McD said…
Dear moneyblogga,

Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry. That was a poor word choice. My Mom suffered from clinical depression, and the doctor's main advice to the family was, "Dont think this is something you can just will yourself out of." Mom used to describe it as like a cloud coming over her. I would never want to trivialize what she suffered through for the final ten years of her life.

I was talking more about the "shallow kind" of feeling down or sorry for myself for the day to day setbacks that I was experiencing.



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