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By Jason Samatas

A long-time Chicagoan, Jason now lives in a part of the country he’s always dreamed of living: near the mountains. Just outside of Boulder, CO, Jason now enjoys all that living in the West provides, although he will always have Chicago in his blood.

As someone who suffers from “over thinker’s syndrome”, I’ve already learned a good lesson in this very young new year; sometimes there isn’t always an answer.  Let me explain.  I started my year feeling some immense sadness.  The sadness was so profound that when a certain song would come on the radio or a certain thought would go through my head, I would break down in tears.  As usual, I shamed myself for being such an emotional wreck. What is wrong with you? Why the hell do you have any reason to be sad? Do you know how much have to be grateful for?  These were just a few of the sample questions that ran through my self-shaming process.

After gathering my composure, I used my overly active analytical skills to delve into the reasons for my sadness, mentally preparing for the report I would send to Congress to present at their next congressional hearing on human suffering and sadness.  The report was writing itself.  The analysis, of course, was the post-holiday blues with Christmas and New Years being over; it’s January; it’s cold; it’s dark; it’s gray; the work calendar is insane this month; the ups and down of my romantic relationship; I’m turning 50 this year…..and so on and so forth.  The analysis was excellent and on-point – but it didn’t yet answer the burning question; why so acute?  Why was this episode so different?

To those final burning questions, I answer as such; I don’t know. After letting that sink in mentally, I started to let it sink in emotionally. After some time I finally began to gain acceptance to the sadness and the fact that maybe there isn’t always a clear cut and dried answer to my emotions and why they occur.  I began to gain acceptance that emotions are like waves, and sometimes the best answer is to just “be” with the waves of emotion that come through us.  Sure, many times there will be a direct causation to our emotions.  My daughter just graduated, so I’m happy and proud.  My dog just died, so I’m feeling sad and upset. My boss just gave me another time-sensitive project to complete, so I’m feeling some anger and frustration.  Analysis is story.  Story is the narrative, imagined or real, that is used to paint a picture in order for one to give some context and make sense of the emotions.  There’s nothing wrong with story or analysis.  But there comes a time when it can only go so far.  In many instances, there is no direct correlation, no direct reason, or no real answer that allows one to make sense of what emotions are felt. The only real answer I’m slowly beginning to accept is the fact that I’m a human being.  Humans have emotions and how all these emotions are felt is the beauty in being human.  Answers and understanding are nice, but there’s a calming force within me that’s slowly accepting that there aren’t always going to be answers. And that’s perfectly ok.


  • Mike says:

    Love it Jason. Sometimes it just is and that’s perfect.

    Happy New Year brother…
    (or sad or joyful or melancholic or whatever:))

  • Ken Cox says:

    Jason, I love what you expressed here. Emotions are tricky, no doubt, but your conclusion that sometimes there are no answers is spot on. Some things just are.
    This is where acceptance is key and this is best learned in regular meditation;) Thanks for sharing and happy new year.

  • Sam Zemke says:


    What a heartfelt message and one that I can so relate to. Well written and enjoyed!
    Thank you,

  • Dan Kemp says:

    Well said Jason, thanks for this. It comes at a time I needed to hear this; I have been preparing my own “report to Congress” (funny stuff… hits home with me, for certain), and I am struck by the accuracy of the statement “I don’t know”. Great answer. Thanks Jason, well done my friend!

  • Kevin Kuhn says:

    Jason, thanks! Beautiful!
    YES to practicing “I don’t know.”
    I find this a healthy meditation practice….wherever I happen to be or whatever I am doing. I take the pressure off myself. I feel relief. I feel my emotions come and go. I feel more human.

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