Every so often I have what I like to call an obvious epiphany. It’s an epiphany because to me, it’s as though a light bulb has gone off in my head and suddenly where there had been nothing but dark ominous forest, a bright clearing appears. The obvious part comes from the fact that the majority of these “epiphanies” are so simple that it’s insane I didn’t see them sooner. Or maybe I did see them but just wasn’t ready to acknowledge them. Whatever the case, I had one of these “aha moments” last night. It started like this:
I had been sitting on my couch, watching television, and just generally feeling in a funk. I think I’ve mentioned that I tend to get somewhat melancholy and contemplative in the evenings, and this night was no different. This night, the subject of my contemplation was the current state of my life. You see, the past several months, I’ve been more depressed than I have been in some time. I’ve long suspected that I have seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression or “SAD.” The way I’ve felt this winter has me convinced. Anyway, suffice it to say that I’ve been struggling to do much of anything and last night it was weighing heavily upon me — this overwhelming feeling that my life is going nowhere, that I’m simply treading water and will be for all of eternity. Then something in me went off:
I realized I’d been waiting for something. Occasionally I had ideas in my head of things I might rather be doing, or plans for things I’d like to do once my funk passed, but last night I realized I’m tired of waiting. Screw that. The people who get somewhere in this world don’t get there by waiting; they get there by fucking getting up and doing something. Here I was, sitting around waiting for things to just get easier, when life is going on right outside my door. I’ve been waiting until I “felt like it” or it was more “convenient.” News flash Jen: It’s never going to get easy.
I think my refusal to accept that has been a big part of my difficulties over the years. No matter all this evidence I’ve encountered to the contrary, I stubbornly continue to expect that things should just be more pleasant and not so god damn hard all the time. Ironically, though, I think they would be at least a little bit easier if I stopped having all these lofty expectations about how I think they should be. It reminds me of a line in my all time favorite nonfiction book, When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chödrön (if you haven’t read it, DO IT NOW), in which she suggests we “just lower our expectations and relax.” It sounds so simple, but my difficulty in doing so has caused me a lot of suffering.
Granted, this new realization scares the shit out of me, because it means that now I have to start acting. I have to step outside of this cozy little cocoon I’ve built for myself over the past few months, throw off these chains and DO something. I plan to take it slow at first lest I scare myself right back into my cozy, yet suffocating chamber, but I’ve already started making a list of things I’d like to tackle over the coming weeks. And although I’m anxious about what lies ahead, I’m also a little excited. A weight has been lifted, and I feel pretty good. It could also be that the weather today is nicer than it’s been in a long time and as I type this the sun is streaming through the window and warming my back, but whatever, I’ll take what I can get.
Here’s to new beginnings.