You know that scene where the little miniature devil and angel version of the guy magically pop onto each of his shoulders than take turns talking into his ears urging him to follow their respective path? Well lately my brain has been wandering like an Appalachian Trail hiker and I feel like I am not only carrying around a gabby Mini Dan Angel and persuasive Mini Dan Devil on my shoulders but I also have their pals Mini Dan Overwhelmed, Mini Dan Stress-boy, Mini Dan Apathy and Mini Dan Curmudgeon spewing their opinionated advice right up the old cochlea express directly into my brain.
The wife and I are in the thick of a whirlwind year highlighted by such relaxing events like buying and selling a house, both of us changing jobs, incurable illness, death in the family, elder care issues and more… Basically a whole mess of those top 10 life traumas have cluster bombed our happy little idyllic world bubble. It might have been imaginary with an unrealistic rose tint to it, but I miss my friggin’damn bubble.
Lately it’s been run, run, run and not a lot of fun. But this current roller coaster ride is far from over so I need to find a way to tighten my seat belt, raise my arms to the wind and figure out a way to enjoy the rest of this ride because at this point there is no getting off.
I finally had an open afternoon and evening just to myself with little planned except to grab some dinner, toss down a couple of drinks and attend a groovus concert. Of course the real goal was to take my mind off my worries but my brain and all my advice giving Mini Dan shoulder buddies had other plans. Like a broken water spigot, I could not shut off the flow of thoughts. I attempted to drown out the chatter by reminding myself that my life really truly is not so bad and so many others have it so very much worse than I, but my little gang of Mini Dans would have none of that misery loves company crap and kept dragging me back into their wallowing mire of blah.
Normally one of the simple joys of my life is just sitting alone reading the newspaper over a late afternoon cold beer in a quiet dank pub but I could not bring myself to crack open the paper. What was going on? If one of my go to forms of mind drifting relaxation was now depressing me, I knew something was amiss. I thought maybe I needed to use this time for a little self-analysis. At the risk of sounding a bit too much like the Son Of Sam killer taking victim suggestions from the neighbor’s talking dog, I opted to address each of the little Mini Dans and talk some of these clowns off my shoulders.
First I checked on who was causing the most problems. The more famous usual suspects, Mini Dan Depression, Mini Dan Mid-Life Crisis and Mini Dan Male Menopause, were nowhere to be found. That was good because those jerks are hard to evict. They also can really mess with you, causing some bad decisions and instigating some real wacky crap you’ll regret later.
This was going to take some time, I ordered a second beer. Like they were little flecks of dandruff, I flicked off the easy ones like Mini Dan Grumpy, Mini Dan Short Fuse and Mini Dan Surly. Those guys come and go with the wind and if I get to the root of the problem they rarely rear their ugly little mini Dan heads. Like a weird morphed mix of Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud I start hunting for mental clues buried deep in my mushy grey matter.
After getting rid of a few more issue causing idiots it hit me. After 40 years of avid readership, which Mini Dan was causing the newspaper’s world news to depress me and make me flip straight to the comics. Is it Mini Dan Agoraphobia, Mini Dan Paranoia or Mini Dan Old Age Fears that is making me feel like the world around me is out of control? Control! Control!!!
That’s been the main culprit. Mini Dan Control Freak. That little bastard!!! I almost fell into his trap. I was not going to need a third beer, that would have just given more fuel to that wee shoulder standing old nemesis of mine. Mini Dan Control Freak has been causing me problems for decades going way back in school, my work carrier and relationships. Now I was pretty sure he was the guy who lately had been stirring the pot and dragging all his pesty Mini Dan buddies to the shoulder pity party.
I have always had control issues and this year its felt like I have so little control over the events of my life its been like riding on an unstopping driver-less train. Even the vacations I have taken were not of my own design or choosing. Even if the control I have had over my world has been a false illusion, I was still able to find comfort in it.
I leaned back in my bar stool and looked knowingly at the rolled up newspaper. The bad news in the paper is no worse than usual but now it was just appearing to be more out of my control. I might have been forced into the job change and move but in the right frame of mind those are good things. There are things I can do and getting a handle on those is the key to me feeling better. Like I can’t control getting older but I can use the wisdom I have picked up along the way to my advantage. I can still read the paper but just skip to the crossword puzzle when the real world chaos starts to get to me. And I can evict all those meddling Mini Dans… well maybe all of them except that Mini Devil Dan guy, he is kinda fun.