I used to think I was depressed. Now I know I’m just incredibly proficient at exhausting myself.
I also used to think everyone had this same ability. Now I know there are humans out there that can actually let a good thing be a good thing.
It’s taken me approximately 26 years, 4 therapy sessions, and 1 conversation with my husband to understand how truly talented I am in this area. I won’t walk you through the 26 years, as I plan to write a book about them someday, and the therapy sessions were mainly just me crying and the therapist nodding her head until a little buzzer went off and she told me to get off her couch. So we are really just left with the conversation between my husband and me, which is actually just fine because it deserves most of the credit for my epiphany anyway.
It all started innocently enough, with both of us watching TV on the couch and our cat, Liza, snuggled in between us and me thinking in my mind, “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is” because that’s what Kurt Vonnegut told me to do when I was enjoying life. And I was, indeed, enjoying life.
And because, again, I am incredibly talented at ruining good things, I started worrying about how nice the TV watching was. Were we supposed to be so happy just watching TV? We were newlyweds! Shouldn’t we be gazing into each others' eyes longingly while feeding each other strawberries or some such nonsense? What did it say about our relationship that we’d rather stare at a screen and turn our brains into cheese than have a meaningful, romantic moment??
And just like that, I was exhausted.
So I did what any good partner would, and I decided to ruin Spencer’s nice time too. I knew better than to just come out and say that I thought our TV habit was ruining our weeks-old marriage, so I got sneaky and posed it as a question, hoping he’d come to the realization that we were doomed on his own.
“Hey, Spence, what happens if we just always watch TV and that’s eventually all we have in common and then when our kids leave for college we realize we don’t even know each other because we’ve just been watching TV for our whole lives?”
“Hmm…I guess we’d just have to keep watching TV.”
This answer is amazing for so many reasons. One, the comedic timing is impeccable. Two, it means that I have somehow ended up with a man that is completely unfazed by the strange workings of my brain, which is nothing short of a miracle (side note on this: if you are also a neurotic woman in search of a handsome “normal”, I strongly suggest getting a cat. There’s no scientific evidence that the cat will help, but it worked like a charm for me and Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Also, if you never find a man, you still have a cat so it’s pretty much a win-win).
But the best thing about his answer is that it means there really are people out there who can enjoy stuff without worrying about the sky falling in on them. And honest to God, this was news to me. I have lived my entire life certain of the fact that having something good can only mean something bad is lurking just around the corner. It never occurred to me that sometimes things are just enjoyable. That TV watching could truly just be watching TV.
So I laughed, grabbed Spencer’s face and kissed his cheek like an old Italian grandma, snuggled in with him and Liza and vowed to really savor this moment and all the love between us.
And then I realized someday all three of us would die.