I wish I knew my triggers. I wish I knew, ahead of time, what triggers feeling like my progress is a house of cards, capable of collapsing after an ill-timed sneeze. I guess the fact that I’m not in despair reflects the progress I’ve made even when I’m triggered.
In case you were wondering, I’m triggered right now.
I had written a nice essay about how stable I feel. It was almost ready for publication. And then I caught a cold. Nothing serious but it did knock me down for a few days. And then the Super Bowl entered my consciousness. Once upon a time, the Super Bowl was a big deal for me. A Really. Big. Deal. I worked in professional sports and had what many unabashedly considered a “dream job,” After I left pro sports I still relished the attention I received within our circle of friends. When I told stories about “the job” people hung on my every word, making me feel good about myself.
Gradually I opted for smaller and smaller Super Bowl parties until at most it was my ex, me and another couple, all of whom had heard my stories countless times.
This weekend I watched alone.
But wait, there’s more. In addition to my Super Bowl trigger, throw in healthy (unhealthy?) doses of NyQuil, and DayQuil, not to mention my favorite, Thera-Flu Hot Toddies. The end result is a weekend filled with hazy life reevaluations, with an emphasis on regrets while minimizing accomplishments.
Maybe some of this is on me for not anticipating I might be “triggered” by the weekend. As a side note, I’d like to go on record acknowledging my aversion to the word “triggers.” And yet, here I am throwing it around. It just seems to fit.
Anyway, I think I have two points to make. One is about that which triggers mourning, and sadness. I guess there are the obvious triggers, and the not-so-obvious. For instance, I know I don’t like horror movies, so I avoid them. Pretty obvious. It turns out this Super Bowl weekend set me off-balance as well. Not so obvious.
I’ve never considered Valentine’s Day a big deal so I’m not worried about it, nor do I think Arbor Day will send me yearning to visit a National Forest. I’m not sure the next trigger will be. And, that’s the challenge. I can’t anticipate what will remind me of a moment when I was leading the life I thought I was supposed to live, “my happily ever after,” so to speak. The not-so-obvious triggers are subtle and unexpected, as mundane as an act of tenderness between a father and daughter, small reminders of the enormity of changes in my life.
Before you get concerned, allow me to quote Dr. Phil. (It helps if you say this in a Texas drawl.)”Even the flattest pancake has two sides!”
This weekend was the anomaly. In my own big game, I take comfort in the subtle reminders of how far I’ve come in my journey, reminders that often sneak up on me as well. But those aren’t “triggers.” Those are stuff my life is made of. And when I’m not hazy from a cold, under the influence of the Quil brothers, Ny and Day, I am, for the most part, savoring a new-found sense of serenity and even find myself smiling, often for no good reason, other than I’m really loving life right now.
Stay in touch. Connect.
P.S. I was going to add “A Hazy Shade of Winter” as the video but it didn’t feel right. Instead, I’m sharing a track from Still Crazy After All These Years. Not a particularly well-known song, it is heartbreakingly beautiful. I know the video is a bit distracting but I love this performance.