Minor Editorial Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago. So, you know, just so you know:
Before I could have my first nightmare about buying a new machine, though, John had gone online, diagnosed the problem, and ordered the $7 part with 2-day rush shipping. Yesterday he removed three screws, installed the doo-dad thingamajig, and bam. We're back in the laundry business.
This is just the latest in hundreds of home repairs John has done - for us and others - over the years, but it still amazes me. Even when it's something anyone could do, like removing three screws and plugging in a thingamajig, it always seems like magic. Most of us aren't wired to think we're very handy, or we're scared we'll make it worse somehow, but John? He charges in.
John's always been the doer, while I'm more of the "big picture" dreamer/lazy type. I'm also insanely pessimistic, so while I think it'd be cool to build, say, a rocket ship, I'm also convinced it'll just crash and burn and kill us all anyway, so why bother?
Me halfway through literally everything.
Believe it or not, I face that "THIS WILL ALL END IN RUIN" wall every. single. project. Every craft, every home renovation, every cosplay.
John breaks through my inertia, though. He balances out my negativity with his exhaustive optimism and energy, and is often midway through a build before I'm done listing out all the reasons it will fail.
Yesterday, after John fixed the washer, re-lacquered the coffee table, washed the floors, and mowed four yards in the 90 degree heat, he looked at me and told me he worried he wasn't doing anything of impact. That fixing things and maintaining things felt less than what I do, here on Epbot.
Just for reference, John works with me online and does All The Things here in the real world, while *I* haven't left the house in 10 days. I made a sudden change to my hormone meds on top of some stomach bug, so I've been physically hurting and tired and angry and sad and then angry again for nearly two weeks now. A lot of those days I watched TV or played a video game to stop myself from crying over what a useless lump I'd become. In short, I feel anything but impactful. I feel like a lazy cop-out who's missing out on her true potential, putting a burden on her husband, and neglecting her friends.
So as I listened to John say these things, I realized how impossible it is to think we're ever doing well in life. How easy it is to assume no one notices or benefits from our existence, when I know and can promise you they do. Because if John thinks I'm doing more, and I know he's doing more, then where does that leave us?
I think it leaves us here: together, leaning on each other, pushing, sometimes dragging each other along. Whether it's a single partnership or a community of friends and family, we - the big, collective "we" - fill in each other's gaps. We balance out our weaknesses and magnify our strengths.
Maybe you stink at keeping in touch with your friends, but you're an amazing listener when you DO see them. Maybe you plan all the get-togethers and remind the introverts that leaving the house can be fun. Or maybe you just hide at home and tell strangers on the internet that you like them, and that it's going to be OK.
I'm a little low right now, but John's got me. Next week I may be high on life again, full of ideas and projects and things to say - and when that happens, it will be thanks to his impact. John's example and his care come out in everything I say and do, and I know you guys can see it. Everyone sees it. John helps me be the best me.
Maybe you're a little low right now, but you don't have a John. In that case, we've got you. Your friends, your family, this quirky band of internet geeks you've never met - even this lazy lump of a blogger who isn't sure she'll ever post this - we've all got you. It's OK to be down here a while, where just breathing is a victory. It's OK to feel it. But you do have an impact, even now. Maybe it's not loud or flashy or in the spotlight right this second, but it's there, holding others up, making others smile, paving the way to the better "us" we all want to be part of. You don't hear this enough, so let me say it: thank you. For the things you do, the things you say and care about. Thanks for still being here.
John, sweetie, I didn't let you proof-read this because I wanted you to see me shouting it from my virtual roof top: every good and lasting thing I've ever done, or ever will do, is because of you. You're my shelter, my co-conspirator, my rocket fuel. But beyond that - beyond just me, beyond our family and circle of friends - you have this stunning legacy and impact here online. See, I'm not just "Jen" anymore. I'm the Jen of "Jen and John." Do you know how proud that makes me? I see how you give people hope in their relationships, how you inspire them to do more and create more, how complete strangers use you as a goal post for the kind of person they want to be, and I think, "I get to be a part of that." Heck, I even get to take credit for some of it. (AWW YEEAH.)
You and me, babe. We're gonna change the world - at least a little - for the better - together.
And hey, the rest of you?
Though I probably won't call you "babe."
But no promises.