A few weeks ago, my friend Kathleen wrote a blog post about why “crazy busy” is a bad stock answer to the stock question, “How’s life?” It reminded me of this New York Times article, which went viral last year. (Side note: My friend Jessica read this article aloud to me straight from the Sunday paper while we waited at a bus stop in Boston, so every time I think of the article, I mostly think of her.)
I actually have a different but also bad stock answer to the “How’s life?” question: Nothing new!
This question, while obviously well intended, always gives me a tiny moment of panic. Part of it is that I feel pressured to tell wonderful tales about the awesomeness of New York City despite the fact that most of my days look like this. But mostly I think I’m afraid to say something real. I’m afraid that the person I’m speaking to won’t want to take the time to listen to more than a stock answer, or that saying something really good will seem like bragging while saying something sad will be a downer. That’s bullshit.
From now on I want to say something about joy or beauty or perhaps even utter boredom, which let’s face it, is even less acceptable to express than despair. I want to say, “A little raccoon grave was the most beautiful thing I saw last week.” Here are a few other things I want to say:
- Nine years in, my marriage is bringing me more joy and comfort than ever. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why, but it is making every other piece of my life better. “You know, this might actually work out,” is one of Jeff and I’s running jokes.
- I feel like a juggler at work—not overwhelmed but definitely maxed out. I also feel more motivated than ever to really knock my projects out of the park.
- I keep having dreams about my grandmother, who passed away in June. For some reason thirst is a reoccurring theme in the dreams. Once, for example, she taught me how to make the perfect limeade, and I woke up wanting her and limeade so bad.
- I’ve visited Brooklyn Bridge Park about nine times over the last six months, and every time it knocks my socks off.
- I was fairly obsessed all summer with sucking the marrow out of every warm day, and I’ve been viewing the return of fall and winter with utter dread. Recently, however, I’ve finally moved through all the stages of grief (Denial: I could still make it to the beach one more time! Bargaining: I promise to wake up earlier and take the dog to the park if only it would just stay warm! etc.) and arrived at acceptance. It had something to do with remembering the existence of hot chocolate.