Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Who I Want to Be

Question of the day: If you were a holiday letter, what would you say? (In other words, who do you want to be?)

Eric’s answer: “My house is a mess, my wife stayed out of the nuthouse, and my kids aren’t in therapy yet.”

Phew. He’s got his priorities right. He didn’t even mention work. And his values on paper would match the ones in real life.

As a stage-three information hoarder, I am now just getting around to sorting all the holiday letters we got last Christmas. And I’m learning a little about who I want to be.

You see, a lot of people out there are obsessed with their work. Some of our more “successful” friends devote six out of eight paragraphs to descriptions of work projects. Yikes! Haven’t you guys ever thought about your eulogy? If so, did it have that work stuff in it? (As a depressive, I have already hired someone to write mine–Robert Ellsberg, author of “All Saints“–but I told him that he had a little bit of time since I’m feeling good at the moment.)


I pulled out one Christmas letter that I thought was perfectly balanced. It was composed by the husband of my high-school religion teacher, with whom I still keep in touch, because she’s my angel Gabriel (she delivered God’s word when I was headed toward trouble).

The first three paragraphs of this greeting list the family’s abundant blessings. Then each kid gets a paragraph (“Jimmy loves baseball, basketball, football, Apple computers….”), followed by a few lines about my teacher’s volunteer work and hobbies. In a small paragraph right before you get to the trips they took that year (Norris Lake) are six sentences about his job.


“Let’s aim for this,” I said to Eric, holding the green piece of paper in my hand that would probably find a home in the garage with the rest of the letters, not in the trash, where the Feng Shui people would like it to go. (I know, I’m hanging on and constipating the house’s energy. But at least I’m learning something in the process.)

Whenever I feel myself getting a bit too obsessed with my work, I remember the idea of those holiday letters. And I change the order of my mental paragraphs around … because I know Eric would not be happy to be in paragraph seven. And just wait until the kids can read. Then I’ll really be in trouble. (At that point, I might just switch professions.)

  • http://HASH(0xcf3061c) Maggie Burgone

    I have to say that I have been slacking in my getting around to reading your blog. Perhaps because I did know what to expect, perhaps because I would see what I did not want to see, too much of myself or worse yet not enough. Maybe because I didn t want to see a side of people that I would at times be more like, so many choicesWell as we can tell I have gotten to your blog. I read objectively from two perspectives, one not knowing you and Eric at all and then from the perspective of knowing you, at least a little bit. I have found your writing very interesting but not what I had expected. I thought your blog about depression would be more about you and your depression and different ways in which you cope with it. How you think, what you think about and why. I guess I thought I would gain a candid insight into someone else s depression. Maybe I did not go back far enough, but I don t think the content would change all that much. On a more personal note, if you ever want to just chat, and work on that women friendship thing you can always contact me. I have always had that problem myself and have always wanted to work on it but was never able to find someone to do that with. You blog looks great and I am glad you are doing well with this.

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