Why do we make the choices that we make?
I ask myself this after I fell into a blackhole this week watching a marathon of Chinese Soap Opera–56 hours later I’m still trying to figure it out.
Life has calmed down–as much as it ever does. I have moments of time available–between loads of laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, boy-child wrangling and working. I should be using that time wisely. I tell myself, “You should be writing.”
But it is so hard to get myself focused. There is something fractured about being me that has worsened over the years.
Have you ever lived your life expecting that ‘someday’ you’d figure things out. You’d wake up and–BAM–you’d have your act together. Life wouldn’t be so hard then? You’d definitely have a handle on being who you are!
I’m fifty-five and it hasn’t happened yet. It is dawning on me that I’m not going to have that life-altering shift of perception–the epiphany that opens wide my mind, steers me toward a better version of myself. Someone who is capable. A real go getter.
And each day I wake up and find I am still just me…it’s hard. Really, really hard.
It is somewhat disappointing to reach this realization. I’m not only not getting any better at life, I may actually be getting incrementally worse. Mostly it feels like I am floundering. I’m a human placeholder in a game I can’t win, playing against formidable forces I can’t see against insurmountable odds…and I think I’m facing the wrong way on the board and possibly missing a few pieces. (This analogy may have gone astray.) What I’m saying is, it is exhausting facing life like this. Some days, I want to give up.
Life can be discouraging that way–if you forget to look for the positives. If you don’t count the sunshine that follows the storm. If you don’t take pleasure in the small victories–like matching all the socks in the laundry. (Throwing out the single ones is just good mental health, in my opinion.) Or watching the fuzzy-butted squirrels outside the kitchen window as they stuff their face with just one more peanut. The smell of clean laundry warm right out of the dryer. Snifffff…ahhhh! (What? It can’t be only me who does this!)
Depression filters the world grayer. Drains the energies. Zaps the mind’s ability to combat the inner demons that tell you “Give up. You can’t beat this.” This inner critic chants in a hateful, hurtful voice spewing a litany of failures on repeat just waiting to bring you down. It is a broken mirror that reflects how much you are not like the person you thought you would be by now. It drowns good intentions in bile and self-loathing.
But, it only wins if you listen. If you believe its lies. It’s false protestations. If you don’t take into account the good you do. The people who love you and the people who you love in return. The worth in facing a day despite every instinct that would have you crawl back into a hole to sleep or fall into a Netflix coma to escape the daily grind.
I struggle to beat back these feelings. To see my worth. To feel it. But, I am still trying. Every day. I try to make good choices–even if that means that having tofu and stir fried vegetables for lunch is my crowning achievement in a day full of suck. That, and I got a shower. And I sat down to my computer to put my feelings into words.
Being who I am hasn’t been easy. I struggle. I fail. But I get back up again.
And maybe, at the end of the day, that is something to be proud of.
If anyone else has hit the doldrums of winter and is in need of encouragement–spring will come. Eventually. And I will join you in a little sun worshiping when it does. Until then, hold on. And remember, you are not alone.
You’ve read this far bonus:
I’ve just learned that February First is National Dark Chocolate Day. Dark chocolate is nature’s way of saying, “Yeah, life can be bitter…but it can be a little sweet too. Have a truffle today! You deserve it!”
And, for anyone needing help, please consider talking to someone. The Lifeline number to call for suicide prevention is now 988 or you can use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) it is a toll-free hotline in the US. You can check out the webpage at 988Lifeline.org.