Essay: Morning Despair

Oct 18, 2019

On some mornings, I roll out of bed wondering why bother?  Everything seems useless or scary or overwhelming.  Maybe I should just give it up and pull the covers over my head.  “Existential despair,” a counselor called it once.  Anxiety about the purpose of life.

Not to mention anxiety about how to pay the bills, eat healthy, and forgive those who trespass against me.  Fortunately, all of that can wait—at least until I feed the cat.  She’s meowing at my feet and has no question about the purpose of her life which is to lead me to the cupboard where we keep the cat chow.

My next stop is the front porch where the newspaper awaits, tucked into the little rack under the mailbox.  After years of climbing into the bushes to retrieve the paper, I’m enormously grateful to this courteous carrier who rolls out of bed vastly earlier than I do. 

I plug in a pot of strong coffee and listen to its familiar gurgle and wheeze.  Then, finally, I sit at the kitchen table with a steaming mug—grateful for the healing power of rituals which steer me through my existential despair and return me to my ordinary life.

I think it might be worth living another day.