Existentialism for a Friday Afternoon

It’s sunny today, though still smoggy.

When inversions trap dirty air low in the valleys, the entire area collectively suffers an emotional beating. The air is disgusting. It presses down on our moods. Mine is being pressed and tested, anyway.

Today I sat in a quiet place and thought about things.

I thought about how winter is charming for six days and then it’s just long and insufferable. I thought about how we all need to pray for a storm to banish the smog. February is turning into this month that I want to throw shade at because it doesn’t know how to behave or when to leave.

I thought about how for so many years it seemed I would have little kids and sapped energy forever. Now the kids are getting bigger. My energy is still pretty sapped, but the issues are changing. We are all growing. I occasionally am alone for a few hours and I feel a bittersweet pang that soon I won’t have a preschooler as my constant shadow. It’s freeing. It’s sad. There is a sense of evolution.

I thought about spring, about not wearing socks, about Jack walking outside with his big bare hobbit feet on the grass. Do the seasons change to keep us from losing our minds?

I thought about the earth, which is always spinning, and we can’t even feel it. We live on an enormous, rotating globe suspended in space by gravitational forces, you guys. Why aren’t we talking at this every day, always? It’s so phenomenal, so completely amazing. The universe is incomprehensibly huge. And we live in it, here on our blue and green and brown planet where we think about work and school and church and kids and Instagram and mental health and physical health and movies and stress and laundry.

I thought about how with the passage of a few years, generations switch places. I was just a newlywed college student, dreaming of graduation and babies. Now I teach newlywed college students who are dreaming of graduation and babies, from this settled, grown-up perch where I am surrounded by my hungry baby birds. Seriously though, keeping Henry and Jack fed is my new Sisyphean task. People joke about teen boys eating like crazy, and they are completely underestimating it. Teen boys eat like rivers carve canyons and run to the sea, which is to say, relentlessly, methodically, insatiably.

I thought about being at peace with messiness and weirdness. I thought about preferring it this way. Tidy and uniform must be dull. I think I prefer the vibrancy of wild, free-form growth. I have surprised myself by liking it.


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