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The Pacing Tiger

It is cool that people are embracing the stainless steel bubble tea straws. It saddens me to be in a business that uses straws. Even compostable straws take too long to go away. But the paper straws...those are awesome, other than they come from trees. Our to-go cups are also compostable, but it seems like too little too late. Officially, I am the one in charge of making all of these decisions. So I cannot really say, “If it were up to me…” because it is up to me. It is easy to become overwhelmed, but being overwhelmed only lasts a little while, and then it is back to doing the best that we can do. That is all we can do. Is that a way of saying that we make compromises? In all honesty, we do make compromises. I guess that there might not be a life without compromises. A life without compromises is an illusion.

So much of life is outside of our control. We can control how fast we breathe and what comes out of our mouth. Pacing around the room, then energy builds. Somehow pacing is a habit that I have developed. I pace and talk, or pace and think. Thoughtful walk-talking without getting worked up about things. Let’s not get worked up about things. After all, the outcome is not what I want. So I act like an ass and get something done. Or I step back, calm down, take it easy, and get something done. Or better yet, I just set it up to get done, and then it gets done. I am a child of the 70s. In high school (I graduated in 1992), one of my dreams was to ride The Green Tortoise to Mexico. I wanted to be a hippie. I feel like I lived as if I was going back in time, even though everyone around me seemed to be embracing the future.

But I made it here, so I know that I will be in the future again. We all love the best versions of ourselves. The food community and so many others were struck by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. Mental health was a big topic in my upbringing. I remember distinctly how my step-father almost doubled over in pain at hearing about the loss of a person who took their own life. Then he was mad and very upset. I asked him about it. I was in grade school. I thought about it for a while. Then I asked him why suicide was such a bad way to die. “Taking your own life is the most selfish thing you can do. It takes all of your problems and pushes them back to all the people around you.” I remember when Hunter S. Thompson took his own life it occurred to me that he might have been in so much pain that he decided he was done.

Depression is probably so stigmatized because people have to work so hard to be upbeat and happy. This happiness is expected of us. I’m not good with depression, but I know what it is. Later in my life, I was having some challenges I needed help with. I saw a person my step-father mentored for several years. He worked with me to bring my depression into awareness. Then he told me to stop avoiding it and asked me what I could learn from it. Don’t be stigmatized. Don’t be marginalized. In closing, if you are thinking about killing yourself, don’t do it. Take a deep breath, and call someone that can help. If that doesn’t work, call someone else. Keep going. Trudge forward. The sun will rise again.

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