I take news sabbaticals. Sometimes I reach a point where I just don’t need any more bad news. I need a break from gloom and doom. Sometimes just taking a week or two away from the news does the trick. My mind free and clear, I happily dig right back into current events.
Lately though I find the major harbingers of doom and gloom aren’t in the media, but just unhappy people. I’ve tangled with depression my whole life, it’s a cyclical thing, but I fail to see why some people are consistently unhappy. Do you know what I mean? Some days you open up your e-mail, chat with your coworkers, call your family, check your Facebook or browse your Twitter feed and find an endless stream of angry, unhappy, passive-aggressive expression broadcast to the world. It’s humorless, hopeless and unconstructive.
I don’t get this. If you have a roof over your head, food in your fridge, and shoes on your feet you’re already doing pretty good in this world. I’m not even trying to lay a guilt trip out there, but the facts are that life is good. We’ve got it good. 90 years ago I couldn’t vote. 200 years ago I probably wouldn’t have known how to read. 500 years ago I could have been hanged for puttering about with herbs and astrology. 1,000 years ago I would likely have been a serf. 10 years ago I would have been on dial-up. The horror. Whatever issues I think I have, the basic fact remains that my life is awesome.
Years ago I got in a conversation online with people talking about their depression survival kits. When they felt doom and gloom coming on they reached for tried and true remedies. Not wanting to succumb to a month-long funk some would take a day off work to watch Monty Python and eat ice cream. Some would stay up all night reading a good book. Some would spend an afternoon outdoors. Some would go for a drive with the windows down and music blaring. In every instance the way depression was headed off was to celebrate life. To choose joy.
I firmly believe humor is sacred. The one thing I love best about my faith is that mirth is given the same emphasis as reverence. We can laugh at ourselves. We can even laugh at our Gods. Sure as shootin’ they laugh at us. Laughter isn’t denigration or desecration. It is our most primal and natural celebration of life. Laughter is powerful. Mel Brooks (following in the steps of Charlie Chaplin) said that if you can laugh at Hitler, he looses his power.
Baubo and Sheela na Gig are what I consider to be “Gods of bad taste” and I respect them for that. They know that laughter is the best medicine and humor can be found in the darkest situations. Baba Yaga is who you might call my “matron diety.” May seem to be an odd figure to be called by but her wisdom is invaluable. Baba Yaga, along with Mother Berta, reminds you that if you don’t value your life you can easily lose it. She will take the things you don’t value: your children, your spouse, your pets. She is no nonsense and not at all PC. She doesn’t want to hear your complaints. She knows your life is better than you let on and knows that you usually have the power to improve it if you’ll stop complaining and get to work.
Life is good. It deserves to be celebrated. Give your energy to constructive outlets. Laugh loudly and often. Take an active role in your life. Deal directly with your problems. Take time out to regroup and recoup. Don’t let anger and unhappiness dictate your life. Embrace humor.Give thanks. Have fun. Do good work. Laugh! Laugh! Laugh! Life IS good!