There’s a line from Errol Morris’s essay “The Pianist and the Lobster” that’s been rattling around in my brain: “It’s hard to forgive yourself, really, if you’ve done nothing wrong.” (Also: it took me two reads through to realize that the two images above speak to each other.)
I have a very simple rule that serves me well: Don’t think too much about your life after dinnertime. Thinking too much at the end of the day is a recipe for despair. Everything looks better in the light of the morning. Cliché, maybe, but it works.
Most parents know about the “witching hour” (I like that some parents in this article call it “the arsenic hour”): that weird block from 4-6PM when your kids are more prone to meltdowns. When my oldest was young, we white-knuckled through those hours with beer and Seinfeld reruns.
There’s also a weird thing called “sundowning” that happens with to people with dementia. As the sun goes down and the shadows fall, patients tend to get more confused and anxious.
I, too, tend to suffer during these hours, which is why I have my rule. I shared it on Twitter, and a follower replied:
Great rule. I met a veteran who lost both legs in Iraq, struggled with depression, and instituted the same rule. Deal with problems in daylight. I apply that lesson at least once a month, for years now. P.S. The guy ended up getting a dual degree from Harvard, is married now
“Deal with problems in daylight.” That’s perfect.