I’m in a rut.
It happens sometimes, as I’m sure it happens to everyone. Change in habits, change in season, something, and then we pass through a period where getting up and slogging through the day seems like more work than it ought to.
Eventually it passes and we’re back to rainbows and unicorns and the little rituals of our life give us comfort again rather than ennui.
This time though, it’s taking a little longer than usual.
At the beginning of the summer, I felt melancholic. I couldn’t put a finger on it. According to the paperwork, everything was perfect. I’d won a job competition that would bring me a small raise, more time off and the half-length commute I’d had my eye on for years.
Our kitchen renovation was finished. The first floor of my house looks (on its cleaner days) like the pages of a magazine that I’d like to read. The work was done on time and on budget, and without any serious nightmares.
The mortgage got paid off. THE.MORTGAGE.GOT.PAID.OFF. ‘nuff said.
And, I am thin again for the first time in 10 years.
Life is good. This is a life that people would wish to have. It’s a life that, if someone described it to me, I would envy.
And yet, I’m blue. I’m tired. Not a “get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be good as new” tired; more of the “if I have to go through one more day of the whole damn world depending on me I’m going to scream and punch kittens” kind of complete and absolute exhaustion.
And since curling up in my bed and ignoring the plaintive wails of small children and grown men for the next ten years is not really a viable option, I have to figure a way out of it.
If you tell a friend that you’re down and she’ll give you a hug (and hopefully chocolate).
Tell a message board, and you’ll be bombarded with suggestions to a) go to a spa for a day; or b) go to the doctor for some happy pills.
My friends, my wonderful, sweet, intelligent and beautiful friends, are all thousands of kilometers away, and chocolate, frankly, is just not the same without them.
And since spas and pills are simply not in my personal-care lexicon, I have to come up with some other solution.
Which, as it turns out, is writing.
I used to keep diaries. Dozens of spiral notebooks full of tidy, straight words expressing my deepest despair and greatest regrets. If a friend hurt my feelings or a boy broke my heart, I poured the pain out through the tip of my bic disposable, and could then get so enthralled by the language – the texture and shape of the words themselves – that the original agony sort of got lost in the syntax.
That’s kind of what happened here.
I’ve been struggling with a post for weeks, trying to put a pin in the exact source of my gloom, trying to write about it clearly if not eloquently. Finally, I told myself: “Self, you don’t write for anyone else; you write for you. What is it YOU want to say? What is it that you FEEL?”
And Myself kind of shrugged and went, “It’s okay now, thanks anyway”.
Funny how when you put something in black and white you can see it more objectively. When I tried to complain about my husband not helping enough around the house it felt incomplete or wrong to ignore the garbage he takes out or the oil he keeps changed in my car. When I attempted to express how needy my children can be, I realized how much I adore the closeness we share; and when I pondered my anxiety about random and potentially phantom medical problems, I was reminded of close friends who really are sick, some enduring painful treatments; others suffering the anguish of slow goodbyes.
How utterly ridiculous is this? How completely absurd is it to be unhappy in the middle of such a beautiful life? How very, very lucky am I that my particular rut has been worn wide with laughter, good health and love.