Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy.
Today’s post is a little different from previous Small Collections. This weekend I’m in Boston for an event. I’m really excited to see some old faces and meet new people today. It brings to mind a lot of things, though.
Boston is always interesting for me to visit because I have so much personal history there. Most notably, it’s where I went to undergrad in a past life. I know that people sometimes talk about college as the happiest years of their life, but I had basically the opposite experience. Ages 18-22 were really important ones for me in terms of growth and learning self-reliance, but you probably couldn’t pay me to repeat those years. That said, I was lucky to meet some wonderful people during that time who supported me as I became more and more the strong person I am today, and I’m happy to still count some of them as friends (the kind you talk to outside of Facebook).
I was incredibly saddened to learn of Robin Williams’ passing earlier this week. He was truly a special person. I actually had the privilege to see him perform stand-up live once when I was a teenager. I was with my parents, which should have been awkward, except that I was laughing so hard, I kind of forgot to care whether I was supposed to feign ignorance about oral sex. At one point, my mom whispered, “I didn’t know this was going to be educational.” Um, me neither. Totally.
Maybe a parent would rather believe their child learned about cunnilingus from Robin Williams rather than on the school bus or something? Oh dear, I just said, “Cunnilingus” on the internet. Spam comments forever.
I’ve heard people express surprise over the fact that someone so talented and so loved could take his own life, but sometimes that kind of lightness is the flip side of something else. We talk about laughter as medicine, and I can’t think of a single comedian with such a gift for spreading joy. Laughter = endorphins.
One of the few good things about Williams’ death: It’s been wonderful to see such open, public dialogue about depression. It’s not the kind of thing that I write about on this blog much, but at times in my life, I’ve struggled with those darker emotions we tend to stigmatize in our culture. I’m someone who thinks a lot and has a willingness to “go there” and feel the feelings—positive and negative, reporting back, taking notes for future reference. I joke about my “baseline despair” sometimes, but it’s funny to me because, on some level, it’s true. I think that some of us are just wired that way, though the treatments and coping skills that help us feel balanced can differ from person to person.
I’ve learned that the basic things that help me feel like my most balanced, happy self are: adequate sleep, a varied, real-food diet, and regular exercise. I like consistency. Oh, and therapy. There’s also a lot to be said for learning to let go the things you truly cannot control. You might notice I rarely write about “skinny” foods or workouts to help you get hot—my main goal in life is to feel good, and that’s what I want for my clients, patients, and readers. This blog is about how food fits into that bigger picture.
When I was a college kid, I had not yet learned those basic things, and there were a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears…not to mention the daily battle against feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. Now, though, it’s such a gift to be able to go back to visit a place in which I was so sad and so unsure of myself and know that I can home again and continue to live a life I love. I know it sounds hokey, but the dark really does make you appreciate the light. Noting the contrast makes me grateful—never gets old.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I know this post was heavy on the text and light on the “OMG—fiber/chia seeds/coconut whatever the f***.”
Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, remember to take a deep breath and be kind to yourself and to others. Have a beautiful day : )