In Seventy-Seven Ways to Make Your Life Very Slightly Better, I wrote a chapter on sharing with the group. I wrote about writing things down, letting things out, telling your friend who will not point and laugh but will be funny and wise. All these are very good and true and really do make things an awful lot better. The problem is that I did not write a chapter on how to take your own advice.
By the time you get to fifty, you know stuff. It amazed me, when I wrote it all down, how much I did know. I was quite impressed with myself. And then, knowing all the things I know, I find myself not doing those things.
Today, I did the things. I was in that kind of portmanteau sadness that is hard to shake off. Someone had been thoughtless and quite ill-mannered, which was a little thing but had hurt rather. One of my mares has been suffering from ill-health for a while and the vet came yesterday and had his get ready for the worst face on. And then there is the big thing, the main thing, which is too dull to bore you with, but is like a hydra with ten heads and makes my heart ache and my head ache and my very bones ache.
And this morning, I talked about it and the response was absolutely pitch perfect. What I need in doleful moments, when everything is aching, is a combination of empathy, wisdom, and spit-spot. I need the Poppins voice to stop me falling into the pit of self-indulgence. I need a certain steeliness. And there it was, and I got everything off my chest and I ended up laughing instead of crying.
The thing is still the thing. But because of my kind listener, I now have a slightly different perspective on the thing, and that is what makes all the difference. I wrote all that in my book and sometimes I forget all that.
Say the thing. Let it out. Rely on the kindness of the people you love.
You don’t, I remind myself, get a damn prize for trying to fix every damn thing all by yourself.