The Ups and Downs

Like so many people, I suffer highs and lows. Not the clinical kind — at least that’s what I tell myself. I’m not on meds to even-out my moods. I’ve always thought I managed my low times pretty well. I have confidence that they’ll pass soon enough. And the high times are so enjoyable I’m not willing to give them up.

When I woke up this morning my shoulder hurt, my back was cranky, and the nagging voice of disquiet in my brain was at full volume. When I finally got outside with Wally (our dog), I ran into a friend who was out walking, too. He’s an older gentleman, a man who lives much the way I do. He’s an artist, a loner with a social streak, and an inward looking guy. We often bitch and moan with one another about all the things we wish were different around here. Our little town frustrates us both. It’s too conservative, there aren’t enough young people, and we can count on one hand the number of people who are other than pink-skinned. Both of us are longing for diversity, longing for activity, and the stimulation that comes with, say, a college town. To our credit, we see the irony of our complaints. When we lift our eyes we see miles of tall green grass, endless Colorado sky, and a pristine view of the Rocky Mountains.

We could move somewhere else, of course, except we'd have to give up the freedom and affordability that come with rural life. Some days it feels like a trap. Other days we feel like the luckiest (and smartest) people in the world. My guess is everyone feels this way at times.

So what do we do?

My friend and I always end our morning rants by agreeing that finding joy in the work we do is the best way to improve our crappy moods. He’ll go out with his camera later today and document the people and things that are good about living here; I’ll sit at the piano and continue to work on Beethoven’s “Sonatina in F,” and the day will end where it began: in bed with a soft pillow under my head and the chance to begin again tomorrow.