Thoughts: One Man, lightly restored

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I slept late this morning. After talking to the woman I love on the phone, I closed my eyes and suddenly it was 9AM. I am not sure if it is depressive, or because I am sitting on the edge of some kind of cold thing. I went to bed early last night, hoping to nip the wheeze in my chest in the bud and slept nearly 11 hours.

That’s the thing about depression and those that fight it with me get this – when something happens that might just be a perfectly normal thing – feeling bad, a little flat, lazy, you are never quite sure what it is. You have to dig deep into yourself to make sure you are not sliding backwards, that the enemy is not winning. It’s a double check that most people don’t have to do, just part of what makes depression so tiring – that constant monitoring of yourself.

The flip side of that is a good thing, however. I am way more tuned into my body and my brain than I was in my late forties, when the depression began to take over. I just sort of took my body for granted, took my mental health for granted and barreled through life happily oblivious of how I worked or what made me tick. I ticked just fine, thank you. Until of course, I didn’t.

I don’t buy new cars (How’s that for a transition?). I tend to buy used cars. They are cheaper, but they need a little more maintenance. Right now I have a 2006 convertible, and a 2000 Isuzu Trooper. The Trooper, in particular has had a rough year this year. With what I spent on repairs, I probably could have bought a new truck, and least for this year. Most years, it does fine and costs me less. But it has been painfully expensive this year. Why do I keep the old box on wheels?

I like it. It’s just that simple. I like it’s big and boxy now retro look. I like that it holds a copious amount of stuff, very handy when ferrying kids to and from college or buying the odd antique. It has a ride and feel that I like. It reminds me of my grandfather’s old pickup trucks that I rode in as a kid, a firmer feel to it than cars and trucks today. And because of that, every time I drive it, I think of him.  I can feel the road. It’s noisier – a bit more road noise and less sound dampening. I can hear and feel the car. I know what’s going on with it. I can tell when something is not right without idiot lights on the dash, or the thing just leaving me on the road. If I were to win the lottery, I’d probably keep the thing.

But it does take a lot of vigilance and maintenance. Just like I do.

And I kinda like myself too, and least the healthy version of myself. So I do the work. I constantly scan and monitor and fix myself before I get broken. What’s the alternative? To be thrown away. I’ve been thrown away before and it sucks, that realization that you are something or someone, in the midst of getting better, in the midst of doing the work to get better, that is not worth the wait or work. But it happens. A lot. And too often, we give up on ourselves.

I know I almost did.

People ask why I write so many poems about restoration. It is because I’ve had to undergo a pretty major restoration myself. It’s because I like to restore things. I believe restoration is the perfect metaphor for the broken, and most of us have had a period or few of being broken. It is because I believe something or someone restored is double precious, not just because it is a wonderful thing in itself, but because someone cared enough about it to do the work and take the time to bring them back from the brink – instead of throwing them out. In restoration, a thing, or a person takes on extra value – the value of being, and the value of being loved that much.

That’s precious.

When the Trooper goes, I am seriously thinking of dumping another engine in it. My friends won’t understand, My best friends will.

And now you do too.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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