for now

I have this little thing that is known, affectionately, as “roller coaster emotions.” You know when you’re on a roller coaster, tick-tick-ticking up to the highest point? And once you reach the peak, you pause for a second before plummeting down? That’s a pretty solid metaphor for my feels. Life is ticking along, getting more and more exciting by the day. Then, suddenly — the top! Everything’s amazing! I can conquer the world, the laundry, the social outings, all of it! That three second pause at the top of the hill is what I live for. And every single time I reach it, I forget that the ride doesn’t stop there. Once I’m comfortable, once I’m convinced nothing will ever, ever knock me off my top spot, we start to fall. We don’t tick-tick down, like we did on the way up. We just drop. And sometimes the fast descent feels impossibly longer than the slow climb.

My loving husband often tries to remind me about these swings when I’m on the good side of things. When I’ve got a little mania glittering in my eyeballs and I’m cheerfully on my tenth load of laundry for the day. Hey! Thanks for the heads up, man! Is that the thing I say?

No. No, it is not.

I say/scream/wail/sob/dramatically whisper “WHY DON’T YOU WANT ME TO BE HAPPY?”

I’m a delight. I promise.

J&J 2019
These two put up with a lot.

Here’s the thing. I love feeling great. Who doesn’t? I don’t want to lose the great. I know I will, but why would I want to be reminded that it’s coming? When I’m in the thralls of the not-so-great, it already feels like it will never end. Why can’t I just enjoy the goodness while it’s around?

Do you want to know a secret, though? (Of course you do. That’s why you’re here.) I think I know why Jason loves reminding me that my high mountaintop moments don’t last forever. Because the lows don’t last forever, either.

The lows don’t last forever either.

Most of my major life lessons come from musicals, so before I leave, I’m going to quote one of my (raunchy but amazing) favorites: Avenue Q.

Nothing lasts, life goes on
Full of surprises
You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes
You’re going to have to make a few compromises
For now…

For now we’re healthy
For now we’re employed
For now we’re happy — if not overjoyed
And we’ll accept the things we cannot avoid
For now…

The high-highs don’t last, but the low-lows don’t either. To me, that’s more than comforting. An event, a day, a mood does not define us. As we ride the emotion roller coaster up and down and again and again, I think we can all take a little solace in knowing that the ride doesn’t stop unless we let it. And with friends, with therapy, with medicine, with age, we can start to make the course just slightly more balanced.

Don’t stress – relax – let life roll off your backs
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now.


One thought on “for now

  1. Hi Jennie! I’m so happy I checked in today. About a year ago, I was sitting at your kitchen table talking with you about how we shouldn’t take our hard days so seriously. You know, when we start getting wrapped up in the negativity in our minds. I reflected on that conversation a lot and have basically settled into a new routine. When I know it’s a ‘negative’ day, and my husband wants to talk about important stuff, I tell him it’s not a good day. I can confess out loud, even if only to myself, that I’m being anxious or being too critical or negative. I call it for what it is, and sometimes I can stop it. But some days its really hard to stop the negativity train. So I remind myself, and I know from experience: tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I’ll probably be in a better mood. Pretty much without fail, if I don’t give the negativity the attention it desires, tomorrow is always a better day. In the past year, I’ve had a few negative ‘seasons,’ and the same tricks were applied. This is just a season. It’s not forever. It’s probably not even what you really think/want/believe. So don’t think too much about it.

    All of that to say… I really appreciated this read, and your tips.

    Should we have this same kind of self-talk when we are having those highs? You know, something like “Thank you God for this really awesome day and these wonderful feelings and the good vibes I’m getting from all of the relationships around me, because I know that’s not a given in life and it doesn’t last forever.” Some way of appreciating and living in the moment. We can enjoy the gift of a really awesome season or day and not feeling guilty about it, but with the realistic perspective of what it is. Because we need these highs to get us through the lows, as reminders for us that things are going to get better.


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