Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything

This is one of my rare, navel-gazing posts. Bear with me and you’ll be back to my infrequent postings about WordPress and code in no time.

One of my favorite book series is Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy” – I will re-read it every few years and I’m itching to read it again.

If the book wasn’t so freaking big (I have the hardcover of all 5 books – it’s a good 2+ inches thick1) I’d haul it to read on the plane before my team’s meetup in Hawaii in March.

Now if you’ve never read the books, I’m going to spoil the ending for you so just go close that tab if you want to be blissfully ignorant.

Image credit CainaG on
Image credit CainaG on DeviantArt

Now then.

Faithful readers of this series knows about the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything” that runs through the entire series. From Wikipedia:

The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet was built from organic components and named “Earth”.

As today is my 42nd birthday, it occurred to me that I should have answers to some of the questions in this program called “life.” Looking back, all I have are more questions than answers.

What is happiness?

What is health?

What is normal?

All things swirling around my head nowadays.

It’s not well known outside my close friends and family, but my husband suffers from clinical depression and anxiety and at times it’s quite severe. During those times, my life is put on hold while his disease takes control of my every waking moment (and sometimes when asleep when I have nightmares about the worst things that could happen). Does that make me love him less, care about him less, make me less happy?

No. That would be like saying that I’m going to divorce my husband because he has cancer. Depression is a disease. It’s diagnosable. It’s treatable. But it doesn’t go away.

One of the things that bothers me about people’s perspective of depression is that it’s something that you can just shake yourself out of…that one just isn’t trying hard enough to “get over it.” That if you just “stop being a whiner” it’ll go away. That’s not depression.

Depression isn’t being angry that Sephora stopped carrying your favorite lipstick.

Depression is not being grief stricken that your grandma passed away.

Depression isn’t being upset that Starbucks stopped making Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the season.

Feeling depressed or sad is not the same as being clinically depressed.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or more. Reason doesn’t work. Logic doesn’t work. Tears don’t work. Ultimatums don’t work. All the love in the world doesn’t work.

All you can do is be there and be supportive. Make sure they’re taking care of themselves. Make them talk and not sit alone with their depression. Make them follow their treatment plan. It sucks. You have to put your feelings on hold and try to make it through those dark times, but it’s exhausting.

It doesn’t make it easier over time. In fact, the knowledge of what’s to come almost makes it harder. That doesn’t change things though. He’s my husband and I love him. Through sickness and health.

That’s one of the things swirling around in my head.

Another is about my birthday. While I never really made a big deal about my birthday, I still ended up doing something special. Going out for cocktails with our good friends, maybe a special dinner with the husband, cards/gifts/flowers, etc. This year, I was hoping to do something special, but the immediacy of other life issues means that “special” isn’t in the cards this time. I don’t always miss my MN friends, but there are definitely times when I wish they were around. Today’s one of those days. :(

Moving to a new state has had its ups and downs. I love where we live, I love the weather, and I love the memories and opportunities we’re creating. The downs of being away from our MN friends and family, getting used to new routines, meeting new friends, etc. While “meeting friends” seems to be an odd choice for a downer, it’s because of the void left by our really, close friends is so huge.

It’s funny really. Seeing our MN friends doing so many fun things and hanging out together, I get hit with little pangs of sadness and jealousy. Y U NO MISS US? :(

thursday

Ironic that my birthday is on a Thursday this year.

Tonight, I think we’re going to go out for ramen at our favorite Japanese restaurant, then I’m going to enjoy some wine while I watch TV. Nothing special, I know.

Maybe I should add cheesecake to the mix? Cheesecake makes everything better, right?


1 That’s what she said!

Thanksgiving Musings

I’m not one to get all sappy around Thanksgiving.

For most of my adult life, I never had plans on Turkey Day. My sibling’s in-laws were so insistent on having the holiday on the holiday and my parents didn’t care when we got together as long as we got together. This usually meant that we had Thanksgiving the weekend before or the weekend after the actual holiday. Don’t get me started about Christmas…we once had our family Christmas on January 15th. :D

Back to Thanksgiving.

This year, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Family.

I have an amazing family. I didn’t know how much I missed them until I went back home to see them this past weekend.

Last year at this time, my Mom was knee-deep into her battle with breast cancer, but this year, she’s getting awesome test results from her oncologist and she’s still cancer free. I’m very thankful for that.

In fact, she’s doing great!

me-and-mom

I also had a great visit with my siblings. It’s not often that I get to talk to them one on one, but the way things ended up this last weekend, I had a good visit with most of them. My brother and sister plan on “road tripping” out to see us next year too! :)

I’ll always be in debt to my family for all their help – especially this year with our move to Oregon – and I’m thankful I was born into such a great family.

Health.

Again, with Mom’s cancer, I’ve been really trying to get healthier. CrossFit, which you can read about on my other blog, has been really important in helping me get back in shape. I’m amazed at what one month of it has done for my fitness level and general overall mental and physical health.

Friends.

While we left many good friends back in MN, I’m thankful for the connectivity that social media and the internet provides us to stay in touch. I look forward to visits from them in the future – and you know I’ll be heading back to MN to catch up too! :)

Tim.

I’m so thankful that he let me follow my wild idea of moving to Oregon. It took him some time to get acclimated, but now he’s as happy with Oregon as I am – especially now that winter is on its way. Our morning CrossFit workout was done in 60 degree weather. If that’s not the greatest thing ever, I don’t know what is. :D

Although we’ve had our ups and downs, he’s my soulmate and I can’t believe we’ve been together over eight years. Seems like yesterday…

Thanksgiving Dinner.

Oh who am I kidding, I love Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, even though we never have plans, I cook Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. With our new focus on health, we cut back on a few of the sides we didn’t really need (I don’t miss mashed potatoes) and decided to cut out dessert. Even with those cuts, I didn’t want for anything at all.

Get in mah belleh. Om nom nom nom.
Get in mah belleh. Om nom nom nom.

There are a multitude of other things I’m thankful for, but the siren song of wine, video games (Persona Q), and the couch is calling me and I must answer that call.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Right to Vote

For the first time in my entire adult life, I cannot vote.

It’s not because I have a statement to make about our current electoral system or that I have a problem with voting. I just didn’t get my voter registration changed soon enough. :(

Back in August, my husband and I moved from Minnesota to Oregon. We never paid any attention to changing our voting registration because, first off, it was August. Secondly, having lived in MN my entire adult life it wasn’t something I hadn’t worried about.

Why?

Because Minnesota has same-day voter registration. As long as you can show proof of residency the day of the election – you can vote. Usually you can show a recent utility bill that’s in your name (and that has your current place of residence) with your drivers license and that’s enough.

You can also change your voter registration when you renew or update your drivers license. However, it’s that same-day registration that I’ve know my entire life.

I-voted

We got a voter information packet in the mail here in our new home and we thought “wow, that’s so thoughtful. A booklet that explains all the different measures, who’s running for office, and everything!”

We missed one tiny detail.

Voter registration deadline: 21 days before the election

By the time we thought about that mere detail, it was 19 days before the election.

nerdrage

Thus, for the first time in my adult life, I could not vote in an election. I couldn’t vote in Minnesota because the primary way to vote is to go to your precinct. Secondly, it was too late to get an absentee ballot – and besides, voting where you no longer live seems a bit disingenuous and wrong.

It makes me sad that my voice could not be heard this election season, especially since there were so many ballot initiatives and candidates that I felt strongly about supporting.

Never again.