I know I’ve neglected my blog lately, but didn’t realize it had gotten quite so dusty over here. What’s up with that, you wonder? Damned if I know.
I think I have the summertime version of SAD. There’s light therapy for wintertime sufferers, but what’s available to those who are depressed by summer? Do I need to find a sympathetic grocery manager who will let me spend an hour every day shivering in the walk-in freezer? I’m so tempted.
This summer has been tedious and uninspiring and depressing. For many reasons. The economy is battered and sulking, politicians are mired in dramatics and self-interest, it’s hot outside, the day job is exhausting and unrewarding, friends and family members are sick or dying, it’s hot AND humid outside, publishing is full of uncertainty and overwhelming choices, and Mother Nature seems to have lost her damn mind. And that’s just stuff in this country.
The day after the earthquake in Virginia, this is what I encountered on my drive to work. It seemed symbolic, a physical manifestation of everything that is just WRONG lately.
That’s one of the bridges over the little creek that meanders through my neighbourhood. The city’s website says they found structural damage and that it’s not related to the earthquake. Probably they discovered it because they were out checking all the bridges the next day. Just in case.
Here’s what it looks like from the other side, on the drive home:
I’m sure you’re wondering why I would even BE on the other side, seeing as how I KNOW THE FREAKING ROAD IS CLOSED. Heh. You’d think I could remember this simple thing and go the other way. But no, several times a week, both coming and going, my mind is elsewhere and I have to turn around.
I was venting about all this, yes ALL of it, in a phone call with my older sister a few days ago. But you know how it is when you’re complaining to someone and just letting it all out and you realize that rather than agreeing and making sympathetic noises the other person is growing increasingly concerned about you and so then you start downplaying your own complaints because you don’t want that person to worry or stage an intervention or tell your mother and get her all upset? Yeah. That.
So I started backpedalling and saying things like, “But you know, it’s really not that bad.” And, “It’s not as if any of this is new. You know, just the same old stuff.” Sigh.
A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is. ~Seneca
Yes, I was placating her, but it’s true. The economy has been bad before and will recover and get bad again. Politicians have always been . . . politicians. I’ve never expected the day job to enrich my soul or feed my muse, people get sick and recover or sometimes die and then we grieve, nothing is ever certain, choices are only scary until you make a decision, and natural disasters are actually fairly common.
And summer is summer is summer. It never fails to depress me, just as the cooler weather of autumn never fails to rejuvenate me.
Now, I’m not trying to make light of depression or suggest it can be shrugged off. It’s a devastating illness that usually requires professional treatment. But what I’m suffering from is more along the lines of allowing negativity to seep into my view of things. Something a friend calls A Big Old Case of the Poor Me’s.
You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent them from making nests in your hair. ~Confucius
Speaking of hair, I’m in desperate need of a haircut but have somehow convinced myself I don’t have the time or energy to make an appointment. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’ve allowed my annual bout with “the summertime blues” to join forces with my natural laziness and talent for procrastination. I’m perilously close to agreeing with Roger Daltry that “there ain’t no cure.”
So I’m calling myself out. There are things over which I do retain control and I’ve been letting them all slide. No, you do not need to see a list, that’s just embarrassing. But I do. So I’m making one. I’m going to stop focusing on all the negative crap in the world over which I have no control and focus on the positive. The things I can do something about, that I can cross off with big bold marks and say, “I DID THAT.”
The most important item on that list? I’m going to stop telling myself I’m too tired or too hot or too overwhelmed, too fucking enervated by summer, too uninspired and boring and talentless to write. And get back to it. Because, taking stock of this summer, the writing is what has suffered most. Well, that and my hair.
Anyone else feel like they need a swift kick in the rear? What’s on your list?