Communal working provides me with something I’ve never had before. It gives me a chance to meet other working people who don’t share my goals. My typical work environments have always lacked diversity in purpose. By design, companies are meant to achieve the objectives laid forth by management. I started working out of Limelight Coworking in 2021. I have a private office but typically work in the “bullpen” unless I am on calls.
We have no common goal under one roof. There are PR companies, startups, foundations, Fortune 500 workers whose offices were during Covid-19, and, yes, a weed company! Before you get excited, they don’t sell it onsite. I enjoy working and taking moments to discuss other things.
I met a new friend yesterday named KP. She’s young, motivated, and does something in politics. Today we discussed emotional pain. It likely commenced with Jacob talk then moved on to social strife and her current situation. This was a continuation from a coffee bar (formerly the water cooler) talk with another resident yesterday. This woman likened these episodes of loss and struggle to pages in a, “yet to be completed novel.” It resonated.
During our discussion she talked about the need to validate, internally, the moment. I asked her if she was talking about good or bad moments. She paused, and with a puzzled gaze said, “bad moments.” A further discussion began but was interrupted by the need to work.
This weekend I completed a small chapter in my book. 532 days after Jacob’s life was stolen from us, my family and I were together with friends, loved ones, and strangers with the purpose of honoring Jacob properly. Mission complete. The day started with nervous optimism and ended with physical prostration.
Like most things, the beginning and end mean nothing. Nervousness is an inability to live in the present and wasted energy. I was very happy on Sunday. I got to talk with people whom I’ve only seen on facebook posts. Many hugs were distributed as physical human connection prevailed over cooped up fear. I felt happy.
The run wasn’t a moment. It was a series of words and pages in my novel. These words expressed music, conversation, exercise, gratitude, sorrow, and love. We discussed the opus called Jacob’s life, that would make the likes of Twain and Fitzgerald jealous. I was sad at times. I even cried a few times when talking about my prince. Sadness was not the day’s theme.
So, as I navigate my way in this world, how much weight do I give these good moments? Not enough. Bad times sit with me. Struggles are real and heavy. I see therapists and seek alternative ways of dealing with my pain. For context, I am not talking about harmful things. Moreover, I meditate and cry. There is comfort in pain. Pain is safe. Why?
In order to write a successful novel the author needs specific elements. The characters need some background and setup. You need a protagonist and antagonist. Conflict must be present with a seemingly insurmountable issue. Then, the denouement, which ties together the book, in a perfect bow. Jacob’s book was short and perfect. Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room was short. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men was just over 100 pages. Hell, even Tolstoy wrote a short masterpiece.
I seem to dwell on the pain and suffering of Jacob’s book. It blocks my ability to live a happy life. Jacob wrote a letter to me before he passed. I read it once. He was adamant about his wish for me to enjoy each good moment. It’s hard to give equal weight to this endeavor as I do the pain, but it’s not impossible. It takes practice and work. As I said, pain is easy. It’s a manufactured natural human condition now perpetuated by our quick access to information. This just means that perhaps we need to relearn happiness and gratitude.
Jacob was with us Sunday. He shined his love and light upon us. I know this. I also know that he shines the same light in my suffering. As with nearly everything, there is work to be done. I am going to put in the effort to allow myself to feel happiness when it happens and to stay present with that emotion. I have no problems when it’s reversed.