First published August 10 2009, TWiR on Ravelry.com.
whoa my god! So! After the house thing fell through last summer we decided to wait until this summer. We’ve spent the last few weeks with a realtor looking at this place and that place, mouths agape in wonder at what people consider to be “sellable condition”.
Anyway, on Saturday we found a cozy little place on a surprisingly giant lot, all tree covered and backs up to a park and all that. We put in an offer and are waiting to hear back.
And so I’ve been bumbling around the house making brownies and crocheting and harassing the dogs and waiting to hear back and….I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO WRITE THE COLUMN!!!!!
So this is me, running late!
Dear Auntie BubboPants!
I always love reading your advice columns. I appreciate your no-B.S. yet humorous approach. After reading today’s letter, I wanted to get your advice:
Should I make peanut butter cookies or not make cookies?
Based solely on your response to the July 27 saga, I am confident you can knock this one out of the park!
Hand In The Empty Cookie Jar
Yes, YES! for the love of all that is good, YES!!! Make those cookies! I love peanut butter cookies, they are the best of all cookies ever invented. It is rumored that Alexander the Great won his empire not from fighting skills or diplomacy but from handing out delicious, chewy peanut butter cookies. Conversely, Ted Nathan Opoklot of Wichita Kansas once tried to build a fence two inches into his neighbor’s property and was promptly punched in the snout and sent home with a detailed plat drawing stuffed into the back of his pants. Mrs Gladys Humpwaffle seemed to be of the opinion that a plate of peanut butter cookies could have prevented the more violent moments of the altercation but Mr Opoklot was “in no mood for that mumu covered busybody” and thought that perhaps she should “pay more attention to that lumpy blot of a husband!”
I guess what I am saying is that you should make these cookies. Also you should share these cookies.
Dear Auntie BubboPants!
I’ve only been reading your column for a few weeks but I’m pretty sure it’ll be good to hear what you have to say. I also think that I’m really just looking for reassurance and I already know the answer, or at least the steps I should take to find the answer…
Here is the thing: I can’t see the point in living (sorry to get so heavy so early on!) By this I don’t mean I am miserable, depressed or I think about suicide regularly. It’s more that I can just find a negative in everything in life, basically I have over analysed myself into a point where it just seems like it would a bit of a relief if a bus hit me this afternoon!
I know I have a great life, all told. I have a lovely boyfriend, amazing family and friends, I live in a great city and I am an intelligent, interesting and extremely capable person. The problem is deciding what I want to do with my life, both in big terms (I have some important decisions to make right now) and small ones, like what to do with my spare time – I have many, many interests and facets of my personality and I find it impossible to know what to invest energy in. I find myself trying to weigh up how ‘worthwhile’ activities are in terms of the big picture of my life, and this can include just going over to see friends!
Over analysis leads to me feeling cynical about every possible activity or life choice one could take. I literally can’t see the point of life. I try and tell myself that life should just be about making yourself happy – but how selfish is that? and what’s the actual point considering we’re all just going to die soon anyway (this is extent of my cynicism, y’see!). Then I think that maybe life should be about helping people but this thought just overwhelms me as I think about all the millions of people that need help and, again, what’s the point because whatever you do will never be enough…?!
It’s even got to the point where I feel cynical about love and about sex. I’m starting to think that love is just ultimately selfish (you’re with someone really because they make you happy or perhaps you both happy, but that is still just a selfish motive). Over analysing sex (which I used to love) has made me think of it as this mechanical, physical action that, unless you are trying for a baby, is ultimately pointless.
That last point touched on the one thing that has given me some hope of late. I feel like, perhaps, having a child could be the one thing that could give me some real purpose in life. Once you have a child their survival and happiness gives you that all important, unquestionable thing to focus on. Although I’ve thought about kids for a while I know my boyfriend and I are not ready and, most importantly, feeling cynical is the absolute wrong reason to have a child.
I think maybe I should get some therapy but I’ve had it in the past for more specific mental health problems and it’s never really worked. The fact that I am writing to you is encouraging because I feel like I do want to stop feeling like this and find happiness again, where as a few months ago I did feel more like suicide might be an answer, without being too dramatic I think it was only the desire not to want to severely hurt my family, friends and boyfriend that stopped me doing it, so this is better!
Thanks in advance,
Really Has No Reason to be Miserable.
No, you probably don’t have any reason to be miserable but then again, maybe you do.
I’m going to try to hit this from a couple different angles, let’s see how this goes.
First off, what you are describing here in this letter is the 12pound classic text book low grade depression (or it could just be that you’re a philosophy major that got stuck on nihilism lite, but I do not think that is the case). Not big terrible suicidal depression but really just the low grade “what the hell is the point” depression. It’s common and normal and usually passes after a few weeks or a few months. If it does not pass after a few months then yes, you probably want to talk to a professional (as opposed to a lady with no pants and curious underarm odor!)
You don’t necessarily have to see a therapist full time. Maybe just a couple sessions? Maybe you go see your regular doctor and describe what’s going on and she does a little poking and prodding and says “OH! look at that!” (actually, I’m never a fan of a surprised reaction from my doctor). And maybe there is something minor and physical that is causing a hormone imbalance.
Hormones are pesky little crappers. You think they just control things like ovulation and your circadian rhythm, but oh ho no! they like to get all up in place they aren’t welcome and make you sad or twitchy or stinky or overly pink. There are all kinds of things in your body controlled by things you didn’t even know were hormones. And the little jerks all react to each other! Too much of this will cause not enough of something else and eventually you find out that a cyst on your adrenal gland is causing you to bark like a dog in the produce aisle!
Certainly, I’m not trying to make light of the situation, but just saying that often the cause of a problem isn’t immediately obvious.
So, what’s the point of it all? You’re certainly not the first person to ask that question and to be disappointed with the lack of solid answers. Often times people find the answers to this question in religion. I am not a religious person and so I am going to extract myself from any discussion of religion and the meaning of life except to say that from my observations it does really seem to help a lot of people.
What else then? Here you are struck hard with the futility of it all. Get up, shower, work, drive, eat some rotisserie chicken and salad from a bag and go to bed and get up and do it all again and why? Why??!!
I went through something similar not long ago. I’m sciency, I’ve studied evolutionary biology, I do not have any sort of faith, I do not believe in an afterlife or anything like that. So if this is it, then yes, what’s the point? There’s no gold star at the end for doing a good job, there’s no promotion or pay raise or fabulous vacation to Alpha Centauri if you find all the hidden jewels in time.
Get born, grow up, eat some rotisserie chicken, die. done. What’s the point? the goal? the mission? Where’s the reward?
Starting very very very early we are trained in cause and effect, act and reward, do this and get that. We learn that if we cry we get our diapers changed, if we learn our vocabulary words we get a gold star, if we manage to show up every day we get a paycheck and if we charm the nurses we get extra jello. Stimulus….response. This is so ingrained in how we function that it is almost impossible to imagine a system that does not on some level function like that!
But that’s the conclusion I came to. That there is no gold star, no reward or vacation or extra jello at the end. This is it. Life is some amazing quirk in the universe, unique or common, I have no idea! But here we are. Before the sperm met the egg, we were not here. After our cells disintegrate back into the earth we will not be here. Sounds like a recipe for nihilism. Except it wasn’t.
This is it. It’s very freeing to know that I have this one finite life that is mine. I can affect others in a positive way or a negative way or not at all. My choice! I can eat brownies at midnight or buy a house or move to Belize. Or not. I can focus on the here and now and not worry about “the long run”. This is not to say I intentionally act irresponsible (sort of, I mean I did have brownies and coffee for breakfast today), in fact in many ways I do act more responsibly than I might because I know that this is it and there are no second chances.
I did say earlier that I was not religious but there is something that I turn to that helps me focus. The Noble Eightfold Path is something I use to focus my thoughts and act in a more responsible manner. I don’t do it to gain points or better my chances in the afterlife. I do it because I have the choice to act in any way I want and I want to act in a way that allows me to be in the world without acting like the world surrounds Me.
What I’m saying is that in trying to answer the question “what’s the point?” you might want to investigate avenues that lead you in unexpected directions.
All in all, however, it really does sound like a case of mild depression. Your psyche just needs a good swift kick in its metaphysical ass. Go see your regular doctor first and see what he/she says and go from there. Just like problems are rarely caused by a single agent, they are also rarely solved with a single solution. Attack this from many sides, you’ll find more satisfaction that way.
Also, don’t have a baby just to give you a sense of purpose. Ask any new parent, they are constantly surprised at just HOW MUCH purpose a baby will suck out of you and how relentless they are at it. You’ll get this dealt with, then come back and we’ll talk babies.
Hi my name is Jack and I’m the labradork, that’s what my mommy calls me. I am a labradork and I have things that are fun like the squeaky toys and the globe ball and the things that are the cats. I love love LOVE to chase the thing that is Bryn the cat, she is so funny and looks so yummy, but the thing that is the Annie-cat, I do not love to chase her because she scares me. She hits me and it hurts because even though she doesn’t have toenails it’s loud and I don’t like it. I don’t know if I love to chase the thing that is the Clee, because she is small and orange and she doesn’t like to come downstairs.
I have two questions because my mommy says you’re a smart dog and you know stuff. So these are my two questions. My first question is, how do I get the thing that is the Clee to want to come downstairs? She doesn’t like it and she doesn’t like me and even when mommy puts me in my crate-she says “go to bed Jack” and I go because I’m a good boy and I like my crate-and brings the thing that is the Clee downstairs herself, she still doesn’t like me (not mommy, Clee) and makes her tail big and her back high up and makes the thing that is the hiss, which I hate hate HATE, I hate the hiss because Annie does that before she hits me and I go away.
Ok, this is my two question. I have the itchies. I hate hate HATE the thing that is the itches. And I know that the I am the labradork and that labradorks like me have itches a LOT, especially in this cold time that is winter in Mitch-again. But I don’t like the itchies and I know it’s not the things that are fleas because mommy puts the medicine on and I hate hate HATE it but I stay still because I am a good labradork named Jack. So how can mommy make the itchies go away?
Thank you Chester the dog, you’re a Good Dog like me, I’m Jack the Labradork.
Hi HI HI HIHIHI!! HI! Hi Jack! Jack Labradork!
OH MY GOD HI!
Okay, the lady makes me stay away from the computer a lot because of the thing she said that was me and putting potato chip crumbs in the part of the letters I push. But she is a ladydork!
Do you what to know the things that I know? DO YOU?? HA HA HA yes you do! because you said the thing that was “Chester tell me the things you know!” I will do this. I will tell you the things I know. I will do this because I am CHESTER!
Okay, the first thing that I know is that the things that are cats do not like ANYTHING! this is true. I know this is true because I am Chester and that is me and I am smart and CHESTER.
Cats are the things that do not like the things that are not themselves or the special mushy food. It is a thing that is a thing that you can’t win!
But also itchies!! I get the medicines too! and they make my mouth have the stick of the medicines which is different than the thing that is the usual smell that the lady says smells like a “dead butt”. I know the thing that is that the lady loves me because a dead butt would be the best of the smells ever.
But she puts the medicine on my back so that I do not get the fleas or tinks or anything! But sometimes I get the thing that is the dry skin and that makes me SO ITCHY! scratch scratch scratch slaaaarp lick lick lick slaaaaaaaaaarp! I hate it and she hates it! BUT she does the thing that is AWESOME! If I do the thing that is itch too much then she does the thing that is feed me deliciousness! She will do a thing that is give me all the delicious fat from the roast and that is SO GOOD! or she will also give me the thing that is my dog food with tuna juice and something called ollie oil! All mixed together and I am such a GOOD BOY and I eat all of it! and Maddie is mean and she does not share any of her with me even though I got done first! Mean and not fair! She should share with me! Because I am chester and it is not my fault she is so slow!!! The lady said that if you have the thing that is dry skins then you can have the things that are delicious. Like eggs! I love eggs! Eggs are delicious!
Oh man! sometimes I should do the thing that is remember to pretend to be itchy so I can eat delicious things! but I will forgets
OH!! Do you go to the dog park???? I do! But I haven’t gone to the dog park in a many of days because there has been rain but also there has been big hotnesses on the outside and when we do the thing that is go for walks I get big hotnesses on the inside and I come back home and lay down! And the lady has been telling me the thing that she is going to buy some thing that has a ‘yard’! She says that I will love having a yard. Her dad has a ‘yard’ and I like to go to the place that is her dad’s house because I can do RUNRUNRUNRUNRUN! all over like the dog park but the only other dog is maddie and sometimes the dog that lives there and lots of time the cat is there! the cat does not like me! cats don’t like anything! But the cat’s name is Lester Big Easy and they call him Lester and that rhymes with Chester and that is the thing that I know!!!