There is a term on Wall Street that refers to the brief rally that may occur in the day or two after a crash in a stock price. The rally usually is short lived, ending when the stock crashes for a second time, sometimes with a deeper dive than the initial loss. This brief rise and subsequent aftershock is called "the dead cat bounce", as in, even a dead cat will bounce if you threw it off a tall enough building. (Lovely, right? And Wall Streeters wonder why people don't like them.)
The dead cat bounce has been on my mind a lot lately. For you see, I've been feeling pretty ok with the world lately. I have a lot I can attribute it to, seeing old friends and making a new good one, having an unexpectedly good birthday, Phoenix's chamber of commerce January weather, or the start of a trap league season. In any case, things seem to be rallying, and, like with all my past rallies, I find myself looking over my shoulder for the bad news, whether it be a literal cat, or something else.
I find myself encountering daily reminders of just how much things have changed. I have a friend that likes to call it "the elephant in the room". Inevitably the grief and loss finds a way to tint even the happiest of moments. You catch your breath when you hear something she would have laughed at, or you see an unexpected snippet of her handwriting. As a case in point, I had a career night this evening in my weekly league shoot. I shot an almost perfect 48 for 50. It was a personal best, and the first time that I have had a perfect stage (25 for 25) in competition. At the end of this run, with me grinning ear to ear, I checked my phone and read a text message from my sister-in-law. She had been reading "The Little Engine That Could" to her kids and came across a note from Melly. It was written to our nephew:
"You can! You can! You can do anything you want to! I love you!"
Whether that was a coincidence or specific message for me at that moment I cannot ever know. All I know is that specific moment became a little bittersweet... until I decided it need not be, and took it as a cheer in my favor.
This type of thinking, acknowledging a depth of melancholia, followed by a gratitude for having had so much for so long, and ending with a conscious decision to turn the bitter into sweet, has been what has allowed me to get to this point. It does not always work, nor can I always work the three steps, but I have been able to be successful more often than not.
I have made a few really good friends on my journey these past six months. One of whom was having a difficult day earlier this week. There was a reluctance to bring me in to the conversation over a concern about adding to my troubles. They were a "tiny speck compared to the history of my life". I found this to be such an interesting turn of phrase. because every moment is a tiny spec compared to what comes before and after. All we get are those specks, and so you do your best to love and appreciate them.
Our histories have been carved with time, forming the mountains and canyons of our personalities. The erosion is done by the little daily reminders. Finding an old sock behind the dryer. Getting a letter from the power company showing you how much energy you have saved since the day your life fell apart.
Eventually, with enough time, these reminders become the scenery of your world. The canyons and mountains can be kept at a distance for a time. Sometimes your are forced to climb them and sometimes you climb them "because it was there". In time you learn appreciate these landscapes for their beauty, for their desolation, and for the power they represent. To round this out with a cliche and mixed metaphor: Life happens. Sometimes the cat bounces. Get back up and get in there, because you can! You can! You can do anything you want to!