Yesterday is gone. “Wednesday,” we called it. So far Thursday is looking a lot like Wednesday except for one obvious difference: Wednesday is no more. Wednesday has ceased to be. Yes, Wednesday is like the dead parrot in that Monty Python skit: Stiff. Bereft of life.
Barbara Fredrickson On Cultivating Positive Emotions
In general the epidemiological data show that only 20 percent of Americans are flourishing. The rest are either languishing or just getting by. Maybe they remember a time in their lives when things were coming together easily; there wasn’t a lot of self-concern, self-scrutiny, or self-loathing because they were focused outward and contributing to the world. But now they’re just doing the minimum necessary to get by. This “just getting by” mode is not depression or mental illness. It’s merely people living lives of quiet despair. Upwards of 60 percent of the adult population feel like they’re going through the motions. It makes me want to share the news about this work and get people back to those times when they were flourishing.
In 1994 I was twenty-two years old and had just graduated with a literature degree from the University of California at San Diego. Though I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, I’d recently stood up on a surfboard for the first time and thought I might just have discovered my purpose in life.
My mind had a mind of its own, and over the top of the real world, my mind’s mind projected a world that to me was even more real. Creston Avenue — the street I lived on with my mother and my older sister, Asia — was two streets: one the way it actually was, and one the way it ought to be.
I wasn’t my idea to call Marianne. I hadn’t talked to her since she’d shown up drunk on our porch one summer night and tried to kiss me in front of my wife. That was four years earlier, just before Jenny and I had moved from Phoenix to Tucson. Now we were back in Phoenix and looking to buy a house.