These are days when even the smallest of accomplishments, like brushing my teeth, or making the epic trek to the coffee shop for a spot of breakfast and human interaction, are worth celebrating.
My Mom says I think in black and white. It would be perhaps more accurate to say I think in superlatives. Things are either the best or the worst, thrilling or excruciating or wondrous or harrowing—never just goodish or okay. And when I do something, whether it's thinking or writing or teaching or hiking or crocheting an afghan, I always want to do it more or further or differently than anyone has before. I want to find something new, make something astonishing, be something brave.
Perhaps it comes of having a large vocabulary. Average is such a boring word.
But in these days, these short dark days of midwinter when brain and body rebel against the lack of warmth and sun, my superlatives work against me. The Pit of Despair is far too ready a cliché—and though I don't mind clichés as a rule, I'd rather not live in one. So pitlike and despairy, with no running water or anything.
Just makes it that much harder to brush my teeth.
So I try to lay aside the superlatives, at least a little, and to be content (another boring word) with the reality of accomplishing very little things, in very short spurts and with many rests. More than that, to congratulate myself for doing so. To celebrate it. Because I have made the effort. I have kept on trying. I haven't given up or given in.
Perhaps the superlatives are useful these days after all.
I mean, suppose I were to judge the things I do, not on their impact on the world at large (who cares about that anyway) but on what goes into them?
If the amount of effort spent on a task were reflected in its impressiveness, I've probably climbed Mount Everest at least once this winter. I've definitely slain a few dragons. Maybe written a novel or two. Probably gone whitewater rafting, and ballooning, and to Mars.
I can live with that. I can live with a trip to Mars.
The folks there know just how I take my coffee. It's great.