I am in a rut. And as I sat in my car the other day after turning off the engine, absorbing the sunlight and vitamin D through the front windshield, with my eyes closed, imagining myself on a beach, I realized this is an annual occurrence for me. A mid-winter crisis, so to speak.
In the past, when I occasionally experienced bouts of depression, I thought SAD may be a part of it. It’s been so long since I felt like that, I had forgotten about it. And so it only hit me the other day that my restlessness, loneliness and boredom, felt every so often, is likely related to the lack of sunshine and the gloomy light this time of year. The melted snow exposing layers of accumulated trash, animal waste, salt and sand, mud, and dead grass, like some revolting archaeological dig. I hate February with a passion–and what’s more, it’s a passion I don’t often feel at this time of year. Hmm.
And so that manifests itself not in a typical feeling of depression, but an undefined need, a void to be filled. I think this was exacerbated this year by the discovery, upon having our taxes prepared, that I contribute nothing financially to the household. I have two part-time jobs, and in both, I break even. I work only for the discounts each job provides us.
Which are not small; however, it was a bit of a slap. Why bother working, taking time away from my family, for so little? It’s not as though either one gives me any sort of personal satisfaction– at least, not enough.
Or does this existential crisis just circle back to my annual bout of discontent?
This is all so stupid, spoiled, and selfish. I have a great life. A loving husband, a happy marriage, two very sweet and bright kids, and the ability to stay home with them. It’s nothing I want to change; I think about going back to work full time and begin hyperventilating. But evidently, I need more with which to occupy my time and engage my mind.
To that end– on to new things! A friend and I are attending an Improv show tonight. Something creative, intended to ignite a spark of my own creativity. Something new for me, and it should be fun. Even more remarkable, I was prepared to go alone (but I’m really glad I don’t have to!).
And it has inspired me to put myself out there, try new things. Next week I am meeting real, live writers.
In a writers’ group.
Of which I am a part.
I feel the way I did back when I first began running, that I wasn’t a real runner until I’d done a race. Well, now: am I a writer if I haven’t published anything in ten years? I did publish, once upon a time, so I plan to consider that my security blanket.
Also, because I feel we need it, I booked the babysitter yesterday for a date night next week. It will be worth the money, for my husband and me to get out and enjoy some of this fabulous city in which we live. Maybe it will help me to not feel so envious of the social lives that some of my younger, single, or childless friends have. Sometimes I miss those days.
My challenge now to anyone else reading this: just do it. Try something you’ve never done before, go somewhere you’ve never been before, meet someone new. Learning new things, even just a person’s name, grows brain cells. It’s been shown, really!