Friday evening arrives. Mary is out of town and I spent the evening with friends at a political talk by Michael Parenti (http://www.michaelparenti.org), then some time in front of the fire with cups of tea, chocolate, and sweet cantaloupe. Tomorrow night, a Tsunami benefit concert and silent art auction.
The peepers are here, singing their hearts out in the nearby swamps and wetlands. It's no longer painful to walk the dogs, no cold stinging the face or tensing the shoulders. I am through with having to scrape ice from the inside of my windshield. Our Dutch bulbs purchased in the markets of Amsterdam are sprouting in the moist earth. Summer's bliss is only a breath away.
My personal and life-long struggles with depression are in the forefront of my mind tonight. In the depths of depressions past, even the coming of Spring was not enough to wake my mind from its torturous maze of confabulation and perceived pain. Sunny days could sometimes not penetrate the fog. The fact that I control my depression with antidepressants does not diminish for me the wonder that I am able to feel with Spring's emergence. While I may sometimes still feel blunted in my perceptions by what I perceive to be endogenous melancholy, I am able to rise above the mental blocks and embrace life more fully. Some might say that the "me" they see may not be the real me, since the real "me" is Keith minus Prozac. I say the Prozac allows the real "me" to be actualized and come into being, not a carefree and always sunny me, but simply a real and complex person who can live in this insane post-industrial world and survive, perhaps even thrive.
Some of us cannot function fully in this world without the safety net of pharmaceutical support. I am unabashedly one of those people and I feel no shame about it. Whether it be nature or nurture---and I can see both sides---living in this crowded, complex, noisy, polluted, and dangerous world is potentially maddening, and there are those of us who simply cannot abide the mess of it all. Give me a life in rural Mexico, 10 months of sun a year, no need to work or commute, a big organic garden, and no financial struggles of any kind, and perhaps I could make it without the benefit of antidepressants. Short of a perfect life (and what exactly is perfect, anyway?) without undue stressors, I am fully here, fully present, contributing to society, working, giving, playing, producing, loving, and attempting to touch as many people in as positive a way as I can before I die.
This chosen lifestyle involves relationships, marriage, parenting, a mortgage, cars, commuting, jobs, taxes, shopping, appliances, home maintenance, finances, debts---it is what it is, and here I am in the thick of it. It's messy, it's hard, it's a challenge, sometimes it sucks, but what else is there to do but burn through life like there's no tomorrow? And there isn't, anyway, right? It's here and now. Just like that prayer, "if I die before I wake.....". Let this day be an example of my life in the moment. Here.