Saturday, October 31, 2009

Depression - not the economic kind: Nothing Much Happened (XII) in München Today IV

Hugh MacLeod, Successful, Depression,  People, Failure, Meaningful, Midlife Crisis, Someone very, very close to me had a very, very tough week this week. And I can't help thinking that this is how she felt. Hugh's cartoons have a way of just finding me at the right moment with the right message and this one came very close to home because I know it is exactly how someone felt about so many things in her life this week. Probably exactly like this. -?- Now I doubt that Hugh was depressed when he wrote this but he's captured the essence of how a person could feel if everything they did seemed to not work, if even the best of intentions and actions seemed not to be appreciated, if - well, the world seemed not to matter. It would feel like failure. -?- And I know a bit about feeling like a failure these days as well. Imagine knowing a day when you were at the top of your game, when you were not only sought after but rewarded and moved up the ladder and then boom - it all went away - through no fault of one's own, and nothing you could do could change the way God was going to play things out. I know this feeling. And I feel I know depression as well. And so today I write. - ? - In days past I would have thrown myself into work. At university on the leaving of a girlfriend I hit the hitchhiking road and found myself on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale a few days later. That worked. Later, fired from a job and having a wheel spin off of my car on the freeway, I borrowed a hundred bucks from my buddy, ate some shit and got myself a job at the best agency in town. That worked. For my midlife crisis act I simply started my own company - And that worked. Inside of two years we were back in the New York Art Directors show and winning major multinational business. -?- And if Hugh were ever depressed I could make a very educated guess as to what he would have been doing. He would have been doing cartoons. And that has worked extremely well for him. - ? - The common denominator I have seen between people who may have had a hard time in life but have no intension of ever giving up is to also have something else - something that no one else can touch. A companion. Passion. Compassion. Love. Love of God or love of oneself - maybe love of oneself needs to come first. A project. A job. Or maybe just a hobby. In any case it needs to be something that you and you alone own and determine for yourself the terms of success. That no one can ever take away from you. After that, the rest of the world becomes a whole lot more bearable. Because the rest of the world doesn't matter didly-shit. What matters is that you are who you are and you do what you do on your own terms. - ? - Recently I've had someone tell me that trying to publish my book Hugh MacLeod, Successful, Depression,  People, Failure, Meaningful, Midlife Crisis, was a waste of time, and that the time I spend on my blog is worthless because it doesn't bring me any immediate income. But what that person failed to realize is that both of those things, no matter how futile, give me hope. And if I want to be the only lunatic in the world who believes in them, then that's my business. My business alone. And that's hope enough. - ? - But the other thing I've come to realize this year is that hope comes in people - and when you find those people, those people who believe in you when the rest of the world seems lost - you need to keep them and hold them close, then hold them closer and closer. Because only people can make our lives meaningful - and that makes the failures of everyday existance more than bearable. It makes them worthwhile. It makes them even successful.

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