“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
As a kid, my parents expected us to play outside as much as possible. In fact, the cable was shut off in the summer so we didn’t have any reason to stay inside. We had no video games, no computer, just an invitation to be outside and play.
As an adult, I spend most of my time indoors, with my phone or my computer at my side. The last week it was incredibly noticeable as I was dealing with the tail end of a cold and the onset of what has become a pretty deep depressive episode. (I’ve dealt with depression since I entered my teenage years and so this isn’t out of the ordinary for me when lack of mobility is coupled with poor weather)
During this time I have noticed envy building inside as I view the lives of other people and read about everything everyone else is doing. That is the nature of the society we live in now. It is so easy to get lost in the lives of others, especially when all anyone is sharing is the good.
As I have spent the last week looking up quotes on pain and feeding off that connection with people and stories that hit close to how I felt, I noticed that it made it difficult to enjoy the successes of my friends. It was easier to be mad that my life wasn’t so easy and that I hadn’t achieved what they had for what ever reason my mind decided to throw out for me to overthink.
On the other hand, it isn’t incredibly helpful to alienate myself into the darker, sadder realm of the internet where everything is death and unfair.
This is why I look for the middle ground. My emotions drive my life, and when I don’t keep a healthy balance of “optimism” and “reality” I find my life dips into a dark place. It becomes harder to focus on the future and even more difficult to stay motivated. Whether I am reading or watching someone’s story, I wish to be able to see that it is but a snapshot of their life and that their is so much more going on.
Many of my “friends” see me as a happy person. And when my marriage fell apart they were even more so confused by what they perceived as a sudden and drastic shift in my life. But this was because they saw only a snapshot of my life. They were skimming the surface of my life, the part I was willing to show, and not getting to know me. One can say, well you created this false portrayal and I would whole-heartedly agree, but I create this because it is known amongst this culture that truth is ugly and it is better off hidden.
Optimism and happiness sells. It peaks people interest and it draws in larger crowds. But, how does it affect our day to day lives, where we are seeing all the ugly and the dirty? Does it make it harder for us to actually be happy with what we have and live within our own means? Personally for me, it can. Especially, if I already have “life bearing down on me.”
So what do you do?
What works for me is to step back and check myself. Keeping up with my goals is priority. Even if it is just something simple like making my meals the night before. It pulls me out of the mindset of “I can’t” and allows me to check just one thing off my list of things to do. It is an immediate reward and my mind knows it. And it is good.
I could really keep rambling on about this, and I am surprised at how different I viewed this quote this morning versus last week, but I will end it here and just let this be free of conclusion.