Here’s a confession… there is one question, above all other questions, that I despise most in this world. That question is, “How are you?”.
Because people who ask this question usually fall into one of two categories:
1) They are people who don’t really care AT ALL how I’m doing. They simply ask because it’s their default introductory question. The social hurdle they must clear before getting to what they REALLY want to talk about, or the first in a series of questions they’d like to ask.
2) They are people who probably really want to know how I’m doing, but would prefer the abridged version because they just don’t have the time necessary to sit and hear me go into detail about the context and content of my complex emotional state.
And I hate it.
I hate fumbling about in a vain attempt to answer that irksome question to the satisfaction of either of these two kinds of people.
I hate it because I’m NOT that guy. I mean, I am A guy. But I’m not THAT guy… the one who will tell you how I am, when it’s obvious you don’t really care to know. I’m not interested in summarizing the content of my head and heart just to satisfy your short attention span, or relieve you of any residual heaviness the truth of “how I am” might bring you.
That might be someone else’s M.O., but it’s not mine.
My life is full.
It’s busy and it’s complicated and it’s hectic and it’s thriving and it’s awesome and it’s overwhelming and it’s gratifying and it’s exhausting… and it’s beautiful.
These are not things so easily consolidated into a brief prepared statement that creates no lingering emotional maze for you to navigate. If you dare climb aboard the roller coaster that is my life, you must be prepared for all the dips, turns and loops that come with it.
The kicker is that to a degree, I kind of get it. I mean, most men are not very expressive or in touch with their feelings. Unfortunately for some, I am both. I mean, I completely understand the terse kind of responses a “how are you?” would typically elicit. I’m just wired differently.
If you REALLY want to know how I am, at least give me the courtesy of stifling your look of impatience and apathy. Realize that there are times when I desperately NEED to tell someone how I am. I need to unload some of these mental and emotional weights. We all do at some point. If for no other reason that to position ourselves to start shouldering the next crate of life events arriving daily… non-stop… whether or not you’re prepared for them.
In that regard, I am no different.
So when I ask you, “How are you?”, just know that I genuinely want to know. I’m ready to ride that convoluted roller coaster you call life.
My question is… are YOU?