If you don’t have anything nice to say…

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  It’s not a bad policy, really.  Complaining isn’t beautiful.

But sometimes it becomes just a little artificial.  Sometimes if you say nothing negative, you deny life’s experiences.  That’s not very helpful.  If I only see other’s smilies, then by comparison I feel lousier because it looks like I’m the only miserable sod on the planet.  I’m fully aware of my own bad moments but no one else’s.

In that spirit, let me post a downer.  It’s to make you all feel better about your lives, really.

Prepare for the whinge.

Here's the whinge: Somehow I have a “bulging disk” in my back pushing on a nerve, causing pain from my hip to my toes. See that black thing between the vertebrae? It’s supposed to be a tidy little balloon staying neatly between the bones, not a jelly-filled donut with the jelly squeezed out.

Here it is: Somehow I have a “bulging disk” in my back pushing on a nerve, causing pain from my hip to my toes. See that black thing between the vertebrae? It’s supposed to be a tidy little balloon staying neatly between the bones, not a jelly-filled donut with the jelly squeezed out.

It sounds so minor, eh?  “Bulging disk.”  Like “saggy biceps” or a “pot belly” or other creeping signs of age. But it’s not minor.  It has escaped its normal boundaries and moved into territory formerly occupied by a big fat nerve.  Nerves protest as they get shoved into small-than-normal spaces, and by “protest” I mean that all the nervy bits connected downstream send pain signals screaming back up to the brain.   What’s more, there seems to be nothing I can do about it.  It’s probably been progressing for the last 5 months, which is how long it’s taken to navigate the Molasses-in-February pace of the New Zealand health system and get an MRI.  It’s been five months since I’ve gone on a run.  Two months since I’ve escaped to the hills.  Five months since I’ve stood at the kitchen sink without pain.  Minimal signs of improvement.  All this just after I ran a marathon, and a good one!  Oh how the mighty have fallen.

A crisis really makes you think.  “What is happiness made of?”

Is happiness made of one’s body feeling good?  The physical activity and strength I always had is gone, and in my more pessimistic moments I wonder if it’ll ever return.  I can’t reach the wilder parts of nature that I love.  Solitude, too, which I used to get while running and hiking, is a thing of the past.  I’ve even given up on rollerblading.  If happiness is made by feeling good, then I’m sunk.

Can happiness be made of friendship?  Solidarity?  Yes, but close friends living nearby are few and far between these days.

Does God give us happiness just because?  Maybe, but He hasn’t been particularly communicative to me lately.

Can happiness be made of creativity?  Yes, and thank God I still have that.  I can still solve plant mysteries at work, I can still make Naomi a quilt, I can still write stories for Milo.

Here’s another question:  Do humans get happier as we improve our situation in life?  Or do humans get happier when we stop striving, when we resign ourselves to the limitations our lives, when we consciously start focusing attention on what we do have rather than what we do not?

I’m not sure, but having tried and failed with the first philosophy, perhaps it’s time to try the second.

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8 thoughts on “If you don’t have anything nice to say…

  1. I love you Molly. Even with your jelly swishing out of your donut.
    I wish I could do something to help. My attempt to fix you by pulling traction on your legs didn’t cure you ahe?

  2. I have a mug with this saying on it Molly – I read it each time I use it. Good luck to you, Love you.

    “Happiness is a journey, not a destination. For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.” — Alfred D. Souza, Writer, Philosopher

  3. Hi! You and I are complete strangers except I know a little bit about you from your blog, which I follow to see pictures of NZ wilderness that I’m too scared/indolent to see for myself! I’m sorry to find out about your slipped disc, your whinge was very restrained for someone who has been suffering for four months! But you’re young and strong, and fit and brave, and it will all come right eventually. I hope so, I’d like to see more pictures of wilderness.
    Get well soon 🙂

    • Thank you for your well-wishes, Joanne! I don’t think I’ll have mountain snow pictures this year, but I still have hope that I’ll hit the mountains come summer. Until then, I guess we’ll do beach. Good thing they’re both so close in NZ! Do you live in NZ too?

      • Yes, in Christchurch since 2012. Previously UK. Made a Brexit before it was fashionable 🙂

  4. Molly,
    It seems you’ve hit a patch of “rough trail”. Life is full of these unwanted patches and unwanted or not, they offer us learning opportunities about life and ourselves. Stay the course, be patient with healing and know others are praying for you and your family as well. God IS right beside you.
    Eleanor & Angie

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