Heart Rate Monitor

“I hate that my highs feel so high, and the lows feel so low,” Golden Globe–nominated actor Jeremy Pope told his therapist, talking about the emotional rollercoaster that is his life as an openly gay Black man navigating the American show business. “I just want it to be in the middle, just be nice.”

The advice he received next is worth sharing well beyond the Actors Roundtable during which Pope told the story: “If you’re looking at a heart rate monitor,” his therapist said, “it’s going up and down. If you were in control, you’d put it in the middle — but that’d mean you’ve flatlined.”

“Life is all about the highs and lows,” the counselor continued, “and whenever you’re in a low or a high, life has told you that you’ll go to the opposite at any given time.”

We can’t choose when we’re at our best and when we’re at our worst. Even if we could plan our highs and lows to the day, wouldn’t we try to circumvent the lows just the same? But if you want the zig, you must accept the zag. There can be no highs without lows, and neither will last forever.

The next time you’re in the dumps, check your pulse before your scream. Respect the varying frequencies, and remember that life — just like your heart — moves at its own pace.