Touched By a Thousand Smiles

I am bipolar.

But you knew this.

Yesterday I had coffee with an old friend.

And on my drive home had a wonderful conversation with another.

Why does this matter? Most folks know me as having a decent network.

But here is my hidden secret: I find people difficult to deal with. I find people exhausting and mostly disappointing. I have often joked that I hate people.

It’s not far from the truth.

This morning, I woke up and started to throw things out in anticipation of my final move to Seattle. Shutting it down in San Mateo, yo. It was way more emotional than I thought it would be, and at least once I had to sit down and just process.

It’s not leaving Silicon Valley, as we are in the beginnings of a serious moment of value extraction which will move deep innovation elsewhere. It’s kinda leaving my friends, but we all travel enough in overlapping circles that we will connect more often than I think any of us realize.

It was just depression.

“You grind your teeth at night. We should get you a mouth guard,” said the dental assistant as she cleaned my teeth. “You can tell.”

“I don’t.” I replied.

“But I can see it on your teeth.”

“I grind my teeth all day.”

Not sure why I do, other than I am steeling myself for what is in front of me. I have reached that moment in my life where nothing is easy. The chickens, my friends, are coming home to roost.

When I was younger, I would get into trouble purposefully to extract myself from said trouble, methodically. I knew all the edges and corners. It never mattered how deep I got, I always saw the light and knew how to get there.

World is a little dark these days.

So I am did what I always do. I spent some time alone thinking, and then set up a lot of time with friends. I know I hate people, and I usually even hate my friends, but spending time with them reminds me of something.

Our lives are not lit by the sun or our success. Our happiness is not internal or intrinsic. We cannot move from sadness to happiness by hope.

Ourselves — myself — are powered by a thousand smiles. I have long lost the excitement I get by what I do; it has been replaced by how what I do effects others.

What I have learned is that no matter how bad my depression is (and holy shit is it bad right now), knowing that something I said or did made someone smile — really truly smile — reminds me that depression, like a cold, passes.

A smile is an indication that the small piece of my soul that I have shared was received and appreciated.

Time is really the only thing that solves my depression. I know this.

Oh and being touched by a thousand smiles.

Each day, every day that is my goal.

To create 1000 smiles.

To share my soul.

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