With the semester underway, my stress has been building up somewhat substantially. I am taking three classes, am involved with extra-curricular activities, sit on a handful of committees around the cities, having jobs, as well as a social and family life. Often times, this is a balancing act that requires finesse and consideration for not just others, but myself in order for my overall happiness to take precedence.
Needless to say, this balancing act isn’t easy to maintain. Even considering a careful level of quasi-calculation, it’s a balance that becomes skewed more often than I’d like to admit.
I’ll let people know that I live with depression and their response is mostly surprise. At best it’ll be in an empathetic sense, often times those people also live with depression. But, at worst, it will be a token remark like “he has all of these opportunities and experiences, but is still sad?”
For the record, being depressed is not the same as being sad.
Often times my depression is triggered when I begin to feel the pressure from my responsibilities. Other times, it is triggered when thinking of my mortality.
I began to contemplate the idea of free thought and the burdens it entails. “To be a caveman,” I thought. To have a simple hunter/gatherer lifestyle that has a clear beginning and end: to eat, to breathe, to survive. At times of stress it seems like an incredible attractive idea.
Or, hell, to ride the rails of American railroads in an idyllic, romantic sense of adventure. Could there be such a lifestyle absent of free thought?
I shook that thought off when it occurs to me that even though deep thought may be removed from a specific human condition, that doesn’t create a carefree life. After all, a hierarchy of needs will always create a level of concern and need, despite intelligence.
But, more relevantly, what is a modern life without intrigue in thought? The times I feel most alive and well is when I am an active participant; when I am an active part of the human experience. There is a responsibility to understand the consequences of your actions. Even if that is somewhat of a burden, it is far greater than not looking at both the horror and the beauty of whatever it means to be human.
As a result, when considering the caveman, I have admiration, but sympathy.