Friday, March 28, 2008


Take a moment to take care of yourselves...and others.

You may have noticed my (LowerManhattanite's) scarceness over the last week-and-a-half or so. You may not have. I know that I've missed many of you and very much missed contributing as much as I would have liked.

Since Steve's illness and leaving us a year ago, the one truism we've all come to know is that “Life intrudes”—in good ways and bad. For me, life has intruded in a veritable multitude of ways in the last fortnight. Good...bad...but mostly it seems, the supremely distracting “What the fuck” variety.

It has seemed overwhelming at times, and got me down, but in the end, I have my wits about me and can take care of myself. That last statement rings loudly in my head because what put that in hard perspective for me was some unfortunate news I received about a peer. Someone i worked with for a couple of years a few years back, a tremendously talented, dazzlingly attractive person with the world pretty much an open oyster for them—stardom, money and the works—and that person is now literally incapacitated by mental illness.

As down as I was about whatever I may have been going through, this person who I had the chance to befriend and work with and experienced nothing but the height of professionalism from is now actually unable to take care of themselves. In the care of family now. Career derailed. The grand plan? Aborted. The mind now a day-to-day muddle through unsureness and darting, furtive thoughts that render a person incapable of doing the things everybody else takes for granted. Go to the store. Drive to the beach. Meet a new person and dance with 'em. All of that simple, mundane fun—gone like the dew after a morning sun's first burn.

I spent more than a few days talking to another friend of mind who knows this person too. It left me drained and melancholy. And it made me thankful for having what I do. Bad as shit is, there's always something else to put the situation in perspective for you.

I wrote about this phenomenon before here in the post “We Must Take Care Of Ourselves”. But my own issues about wellness pale in comparison to what my old co-hort is going through. Not only must we take care of ourselves, but I think karmically things work better if we also do what we can to take care of each other as well. Look out for friends when you can. One of the things that got me so damned down was realizing that I'd fallen out of touch with this friend/contemporary just as things seemed to spin out of control for 'em. It set me thinking about how thankful I am for the support system I do have—how these people buck me up, give me strength and look out for me.

Not trying to sound all New-agey / Haley Joel Osment “Pay It Forward”-y here. Just noting that with the fragility of the world about us, a little bit of reciprocal care—given out to friends and loved ones in the hope that it will come back in kind someday is NEVER a bad thing. You never know when a “support brace” in your life will give way, and having people looking in on you—caring, considering, loving you even a little can be enough to if not prevent the roof from caving in and burying you, shielding you a little so you're not crushed beneath its weight.

Look out for each other a little. Call a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Check in. It could be just the thing they need at that moment, and I think it opens one up to just a touch of extra good coming one's own way when road gets rough. Rocky as my path may be, I can't help but think of my comrade and what they're going through, and that maybe with a little reaching out—not just from me—that their difficulty could have been caught sooner, diagnosed or just...cared about and perhaps lessened.

I'm going to be fine. My friend? Not so much unfortunately. And that leadens my heart. I hate that feeling. Thus, to mitigate it–I'm making a few calls. sending a few e-mails. It's gotten me feeling a bit better, so I'm recommending it to all. In this intense-for-all-the-wrong-reasons time, what really matters is people...and contact...and connection.

It's re-focused me and revived me.

I hope it does for you, too. It certainly will for whoever you decide to reach out to. And that alone is good enough.