An old optimist shares strategies to beat the blues.
- First, continue going through the motions of everyday life.
- Then think a new thought.
How an old optimist beats the blues
I’m pathologically criminally
queen of the optimists
but now and then it’s still
a struggle to beat the blues.
I say to myself, You know what to do
and this is only a hitch
a glitch, a gate unlocked
in lockdown for an old
familiar demon to slip through..
You know how it goes.
(Ah me my life is pointless
work is worthless
I’m such a fake my love’s no good
nobody likes me and nor they should.)
Old age makes us ready prey
but also gives us strategies.
The heart may call them nonsense
but experience disagrees.
To start, you go through the motions.
All of our habits have value
especially when we whimper
“What’s the point?” That is the point.
They are the point.
They get the day on track.
Do this. Do that. Eat breakfast. Feed the cat.
You have work, so do it.
Wash some plates. Lift some weights.
Do your income tax.
Help your neighbour Max.
And sooner or later you recall
A thought is only a thought.
You can think a new thought.*
And lo! a new thought springs to life.
Then another. And another.
Finally one of them clicks.
For instance, black lives matter.
Life is short. Why waste a single day?
Suck it up, say thank you
and give something away.
Rachel McAlpine 2020 CC BY 2.0
*Thank you, Louise Hay, for this revelation. I heard you say it on an audiotape (!) 30 years ago and it changed everything.