Enjoy a Chapter Sample from Drift and Hum
I DON’T WANT TO DIE. Not like this anyway, so I need your help.
Good. I needed to get that out of the way right away.
I want to get better. That much you need to know, so please don’t lose confidence in me. I need you to have faith. It’s important that we keep faith because I absolutely intend to get better, and I believe I stand a pretty good chance. It will be helpful to me if you believe as well.
In the spirit of complete transparency, there is also something else you need to know up front. I’m not crazy. That much I know for sure. A few others know it as well, and I even have a doctor who will validate this for us. With that, I’ll be the first to admit that I have a few things I need to work out. Yet, who doesn’t have a few things to work out, right? Truth be told, I think I’m really just a person who needs a bit of a break from it all as it’s been quite a ride lately, and I think a short break from everything will prove helpful. I’m sure you know how stressful things can get as nobody is immune to life’s challenges these days. Nobody is immune to the ups and the downs so sometimes a person just needs a complete break from it all. That’s me at this point. I’m one of those people, and the timing is perfect too, as my fiftieth birthday is right around the corner. It will be good to be rested for the next half-century.
I know I’ll get better as this is just a small mid-life detour. At least that’s how I’m looking at it anyway, and it’s proving helpful to view the situation through this lens of improvement.
My getting through this is how my doctor views the situation, and a few friends of mine see it that way as well. They’re great people, and I think you will like them. They were worried about me recently and did the whole intervention thing. That was quite the scene – talk about getting it all out there. My friends are amazing. Having close friends is an important part of life, and frankly I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. But please don’t let where I literally am today confuse this last comment. I’m actually in a good spot in general. In fact, I’m considered very successful by most standards. I just need a bit of a break. Life is like flying a kite, and I guess you could say I caught an unexpected gust of wind.
The good news is there’s no real time constraint for my visit here. It’s not as if I’ve been committed. I can leave whenever I want, although my doctor is suggesting I may want to rest for a few weeks at a minimum. This seems like a long time, but I’m committed to do what is right as the status quo is not practical and progress needs to be made. I’m on a break from work, no worries there. My team has everything under control, and it’s very comfortable here at the hospital. So in totality, all is fine. No doubt there are a lot of people in worse shape than I am.
I’m sure you’ve gathered I’m in a hospital, or should I say, a hospital of sorts. It’s more like a country club for people who need a rest and is a great example of premium health care services. If you need to take a break from it all, and if a hospital is a part of that break, and you have money, then this is the place to do it. In fact, right now, I’m looking at the Atlantic Ocean on the South Carolina coast. It’s the beginning of July, so of course it’s hot and sunny. I don’t mind the heat as I know too well what the alternative is. I know about cold because I grew up in Canada. Not just Canada, but in the northern part of Canada, so it will be years before the sun of South Carolina thaws me out even though I’ve been here since 1984. That’s over thirty years of thawing, and I’m still not done. The true north will do that to a person. Frozen is frozen, just as dead is dead.
I can see waves hitting the shoreline from my spacious room, and sometimes I watch the ocean from my private deck or through the window over my writing desk. The tide is currently coming in, and it will be a six-foot tide today, just about average for the South Carolina coast. I prefer a rising tide as I’m feeling it’s more appropriate for my current situation. Falling tides are certainly a part of life as well, and we need to embrace them, but right now I prefer a rising tide. Directly in front of me is the Atlantic in all its vastness, and to my right, to the south, is one of many South Carolina rivers that flow into the ocean. The rivers are fantastic because you can see the speed of the water flowing as a result of the tidal currents. I learned a long time ago never to underestimate the force of natural currents as they are much, much stronger than you imagine.
I’ve had the privilege of travelling to every state in the USA, and South Carolina is by far the most beautiful in my opinion. It also happens to be where my family and I live. In fact, I’m not far from home right now. I’m Canadian by birth, but I became an American citizen a few years ago. That was quite the process, and I was honored to become a citizen. My wife Sophie and son George are both American born – they are my true red, white, and blue Americans.
My doctor and I are friends, so I just call her Doc. The informality helps create an environment for progress to be made. We have known each other for over ten years as we are both part of the local professional community. She is a board-certified psychiatrist and very good at what she does, as well as being Sophie’s friend. I know she’s a good doctor because I’m a trained psychologist. Considering my profession, I recognize the irony of my current state.
I haven’t worked as a practicing psychologist for some time because I’ve been building a business. That is, I was up until I took this self-imposed time off. Apparently I’m pretty good at what I do; at least that’s what my employees and customers tell me. Doc is trying to get me back to work so I’ll get out of this funk. She believes getting back to work is the remedy to my ills, and others agree. My employees want me back to work so we can continue with the positive momentum we’ve been generating, and my customers want me back so they can continue to improve their lives. I help people improve their lives, and once again, the irony is not lost on me.
My room is perfect, spacious and comfortable – all in a simple way. I’m looking for simplicity right now as simplifying your life makes it easier to relax and find peace of mind. Simplicity creates calming energy; complexity creates chaotic energy. Energy is important to me right now, in particular, positive energy. I have a bed, a dresser, and a nice writing desk with a lamp on it. My window looks over the ocean – it’s a great view. This is what I meant by this being a nice place, and while I know money isn’t everything, and it won’t buy happiness, it sure can help out when you need a break from it all. The ocean is a natural healer; the rivers and the ocean are my healers. The only thing I would remove from this room is the television. It’s a new high-tech flat screen with a thousand channels where many of the channels are the Talking Cable Heads’ shows. You know the kind – where a bunch of people aggressively spew their opinions on matters they know absolutely nothing about.
I don’t do so well with these shows, so I have the television unplugged, and I fight with myself when I get the urge to turn it on.
I’m working at the desk right now. When Doc and I aren’t talking, you can find me sitting on the beach or at my desk. My desk is where I write; the beach is where I think about what to write. Writing bridges the physical world and the mental world; at least it does for me. Writing allows me to synthesize all the complexity of my life into manageable pieces. Everything is more manageable when you chunk it into smaller pieces. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I mostly write poetry and song lyrics. I’m the poet, and my musician friend Ray and I collaborate to bring songs to life.
I haven’t been the model patient for Doc as I haven’t exactly been a chatterbox. Psychology requires dialogue; it’s a cognitive therapy and requires communication between doctor and patient. It’s not as if I’m not talking to Doc. I’m just not talking about the right things. I know it, and she knows it, but that doesn’t change what I’m doing. I am ready to talk though, so I guess I just need to get warmed up a little. Doc told me to spend some time writing down my thoughts as part of this warm up, and I think that was clever. I would never have thought of it. I guess that’s why she’s here as the doctor and I’m here as the patient.
The real problem is I’m out of energy, but I need energy to get better. I know that. I’m also tired of being frustrated and angry, or being frustrated and angry is making me tired. I’m not sure which way it goes. Maybe it doesn’t matter what’s the cause and what’s the effect, because either way you end up tired. But I’m committed, and I’ll give it everything I have. I’m willing to try. Eat tree, Beaver! That’s my motto to my customers who are seeking my advice. I should try to practice what I preach, as practicing what you preach can go a long way. It’s hard, though. Giving advice and actually implementing your own advice are two very different animals. The former is much easier.
I suppose I should introduce myself. This would be appropriate since I’m asking you to stay with me. You can call me Sam, the name I’ve gone by forever, even though Sam is not the name you’ll see on my birth certificate or passport. I’ve never used my real name because I’ve always just been Sam. My friend Hats was the first to call me Sam. I’m named after Sam McGee, the character from the Robert Service poem The Cremation of Sam McGee. It’s my favorite poem. I really love the poem, and Hats loves the fact that I love it. He also believes I have a bit of the Sam character in me, so he started calling me Sam when we were kids. It stuck, and everybody, including my own family, saw the congruency as well. Everybody calls me Sam. Sam McGee is still my favorite poem, a classic in every sense; it’s simply the poem of all poems.
The master plan here is for me to get better, so I’m going to do this by talking through some issues with the Doc, and I’m also going to attempt to do some writing to organize my thoughts. I plan to share all of this with you as this is the only way any progress will be made. I’m going to do my absolute best to share everything you need to know, exactly when you need to know it, so you have all the information and background required to help me.
With that, here’s what you need to know at this point. Everything you are about to read really happened. I’m not saying I might not get a few things mixed up, and I’m not saying that everybody remembers it the way I do. I’m just saying that it all really happened.
I hope Hats, RC, and Ray can tell it their way someday as well because it’s really their story too.
OK then, buckle up, and let’s get started.
I hope you enjoy the ride.