“Life everywhere is life”

“Brother, I am not depressed and haven’t lost spirit.  Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves and not in the external.  There will be people near me, and to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter- this is what life is, herein lies its task.”

A letter from Fyodor Dostoevsky to his brother on December 22, 1849, hours after receiving a last-second reprieve from execution on charges of belonging to an underground utopian society

This philosophy rings true to me, even though it didn’t serve Dostoevsky well (he was by all accounts depressed and anxious his entire life).

“Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves.” If there’s a lesson in this for Jay and Wally it’s this: Life is too complex to expect that if you fine tune this, or fix that, or buy more of this other thing, then you’ll be happy.  You’re never going to avoid being who you are, wherever you are, and one of the first tasks is to make peace with that.

This letter also expresses one of my biggest fears for them:  “To be a human being…and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter- this is what life is.”

Actually, I hope life is more than that for Jay and Wally.  I want them to flourish, to see all the uncertainty that surrounds being alive as an opportunity- their chance for a short while to participate in something sublime.

But sometimes, after a hard day, I think I’d be happy knowing that they’ll get through without losing their minds.