Optimism in the Face of … Uncertainty.
Optimism … it ebbs and flows but it is there if you allow it to be. Through the depressive fog there is still a lone lighthouse of optimism, and hope burns bright. I’m writing this on a day of political and social apprehension. We don’t know what is on the other side of the door opening tonight. We can’t anticipate the actions or words about to come down at us. But this isn’t a blog about my feelings on the Inauguration or what will come in the era of this administration, no.
It’s a first step in a promise to myself. It’s an acknowledgement that pessimism and laying in the ditch of self-defeat and self-pity isn’t an acceptable way for me be anymore, not with all in front of me, and all I am capable of achieving. Being my own biggest cheerleader is part of this Optimistic turn. Building myself up and building up what I can do only strengthens me and what I am doing, it allows for me to not only attempt it but complete it. Having depression, completing projects can be a feat just in itself. But depression can’t be a hook for me to hang my problems, it’s not a crutch to be blamed for my inactivity.
I spent a very long time spectating. Sliding further and further back as I let other’s live their lives and I cheer them on and live for them, rather than for myself. That’s allowed me to become stagnant while others have achieved their own dreams and heights. Stagnation is a big trigger for my depression, leaving me feeling bereft. It’s a feeling that only further reinforces the walls that keep me isolated. “I have done nothing, therefore I am nothing.” This is false. I remind myself of this. Remember that yourself.
So the changing came in removing the bricks by doing the work that needed to be done. Because time was running out in my youth. I see how hard people older than me have to work, I see how hard I work now and I know I don’t want to have to do this in ten or twenty years. I know where I want to be. Dreaming of it endlessly while the work remains undone won’t move me there any faster.
I don’t do News Year’s resolutions. For me they’re a recipe for failure and for being in the same cycle of picking up new diets (not lifestyles) and new trends and keeping them or a few months, wasting your time and money before dropping them again. I did decide a few things that I would just cut out of my life. Behaviors and ways of thinking that were unproductive and not at all conducive to being happy or getting things done in my life.
Besides being more realistically optimistic it’s also about taking care of myself. “Treat yourself.” as Tom Haverford would say. It’s true, treating myself the way I should be treated meant stepping my game up and my standards up. In my behavior, in my habits, and my work. Taking pride in each thing I do and not just punching the lock in all activities in my life, even when I relax. Disconnecting has helped, minding my business is key. Depression means finding distraction a lot of the time, a way of ignoring what’s going on with me internally. I want to and have begun to channel that into working on me, even in the tiniest of tasks at home. Or truly investing in my downtime. If that’s working on something for me, reading to stay informed or just to keep my mind moving and growing.
Staying informed and doing the work eases the mind, and lets me form a plan but also stay focused on myself and my home, the most important things. Without a plan it leaves me feeling out of control at the mercy of chaos and uncertainty. So many moments in life are uncertain, so many times I’ve felt like a raw nerve. Reacting and living at the mercy of the different pushes and pulls of people and life events. Uncertainty drives me crazy. I can’t plan for the uncertain, I can’t plan for every moment of every day. Anxiety lets the feelings of apprehension leaving me frozen. What to do when there are too many variables? So I dropped the bricks of trying to plan for every random corner that life throws at me, and just being as prepared I can for life in general while not worrying about things until they get to my face.
I admit I had a habit of making problems before they even came up. Depression and bad habits lead you to think, at times, that the whole world is shit (for lack of a better term). For me, I’ve reasoned this is false. The world throws a lot of people shitty hands, but it’s the world we’re given and to live is to be as close to God as possible, so this world is our creation.
Written Jan 20th.