Drama queen no more

May 20, 2008

Yes, I know I haven’t posted for nearly two weeks. And, yes, I know that SJ has put up two thought-provoking posts in that time and I have completely failed to respond to all the interesting points she raises. Sue me. I’m writing a research proposal. It’s hard. Normal service will be resumed once I have submitted it, and I have lots of thoughts on both posts.

Today, however, I am mostly thinking about this conversation, which I have had with three or four friends over the last couple of weeks:

(idle chatter)

Friend: So, how are you doing?

F: Oh, really well.


Friend: (waits for the punchline)


Friend: (can’t bear it any longer)

Friend: So, what’s going on?

F: Nothing.

Friend: (incredulous) Nothing?

F: Nothing. Studying, chatting to friends, lots of prayer and meditation. Playing with the cats. That’s it. Absolutely nothing to report.

Friend: (is bemused)

F: (huge grin) It’s really boring.

Friend: (doubtfully) Well, I’m glad you’re happy.

My friends aren’t used to this. They’re used to my life as a soap opera. Crises come and go like waves, glorious heights and crashing depths. And my life, per se, has not changed that much. I am still mostly close to the same people. I have the same work, the same challenges, the same plans. Et cetera.

But I’m different.

I’ve made a decision – well, two decisions – that have completely altered the way I go through life. And they’re both working out really well.

The first is that I’m working really hard on not reacting to other people’s stuff. For example, I am really quite proud that I have taken my city’s recent distressing political news in my stride. In the past I would have raged and lamented. Now I just tell myself that there’s nothing I can do about it anyway, and turn my attention to something that I can do something about. Yes, people still do things that distress me. But I can decide not to think about it, and mostly it works.

The other decision is similar – don’t talk about the bad stuff. Yes, of course I sometimes get sad or cross – it’s far less frequent than it used to be, but I am human. But I don’t tell anyone. When someone asks how I am doing, I say, ‘Great’. And, because I’m not reliving the bad feelings again and again in my mind, I think about them less and they go away.

Pollyanna-ish? Perhaps. Denial? Maybe. And it certainly runs counter to today’s received wisdom that we should ‘talk out’ everything that ails us. (I’m beginning to sound like a Daily Mail reader.)

But it works.

I’d like to say that I’ve never been happier, but that is not quite true. There is still stuff going on, and it is going to take a little while before I am truly living in joy. But, in a quiet way, I am doing really well. I am just getting on with things.

I keep looking at my life, amazed, thinking ‘I should be sadder’. Or, ‘where’s the drama?’ And then I shake my head to get rid of the thought and think about something else.

Something boring.


One Response to “Drama queen no more”

  1. patrickhadfield Says:

    Well, I’m glad you’re happy“. I like that.

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