I have often heard people deride “coping mechanisms”, as if coping is a sin and our alternatives are much more appealing. Although I am a realist, I have no opposition to the million mind games we play with ourselves to stay sane and productive.
Today is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Although it feels like fine weather has just begun we are reminded that it’s all downhill from here. It makes me wonder if the universe approves of the mind games that keep us from despair: just when the passing of time seems too depressing to contemplate, we have months of beautiful weather to which to look forward. Similarly, six months later (or before, depending on how you look at it) when we are staring past the winter solstice down an interminable ice-covered road, we can comfort ourselves by saying “at least the days are getting longer”.
There is always something to despair over – every day a little death, as Sondheim wrote, though with perhaps a bit more innuendo than I have in mind this morning. I am sometimes tempted to fall into that sadness, not to fight whatever sucks me toward the decline. I’m not sure the fight is always as hard as we make out to be. Often – not always, but often – it means finding something light to counteract the darkness, and admitting to ourselves that both the light and the dark are both equally true.