I think I've tried to write this post a hundred times since the beginning of the year and for one reason or another, it keeps never happening. I come back and delete and rewrite... delete and rewrite. Tonight though, I was trying to fall asleep but my noisy little brain wouldn't let me. I would go from thinking about how awesome everything in my life is to thinking about my to-do list for the next day, the next week, the next month (I'm a to-do list FREAK). And finally after about two hours of tossing and turning, I finally said said to myself, "Fine, brain, if you won't shut up... then I'll just write that damn blog post."
So here I am. Writing that damn blog post.
Here's the thing - it's always been easier for me to write (both nonfiction and fiction) when I'm less than happy. Don't ask me why that is. Perhaps it's an unconscious therapeutic thing. Maybe it's because my emotions are on high alert. So when I'm happy... when things are going well - I tend not to write reflective blog posts or deep, emotional journal entries because, you know, I'm busy doing things. Goingplaces. Just... being. But I think it's still important to reflect on that - because realizing you're happy, that things are going well in your life is just as important as realizing when you're miserable and when everything is wrong.
Last year was probably one of the worst years I've had thus far. A strong bout of depression grabbed hold and on top of that I struggled with a lot of personal issues. I think the majority of it comes down to the feeling of being lost. I'd lost my identity, who I was, who I wanted to be, what I wanted with my life. I remember that some days felt like a prison. Get up, cry, force myself to do some work, force myself to interact with some people, cry, yell at my husband, cry, wonder what the hell was wrong with me, cry, develop insomnia because I couldn't sleep. Over and over and over again, every day. I hated myself in those moments. I hated who I was, who I'd become and the person people saw me as. And I was deeply, deeply unhappy. In my career, with myself, with life in general.
I think my rock-bottom day came when my husband left for work one day, and I was still in bed (couldn't get myself up) and I just cried all morning. I thought about going away - maybe back to my parents house - just so that my husband wouldn't have to deal with me. That's how bad I had gotten. To the point where my absence would have been better for him than me staying as I was.
I've always been a creative kind of person - but when I was growing up - I really, truly believed in the theory that "you can do anything you want to do!" I thought that no matter what life cast upon me, I could do and be anything I wanted if I tried hard enough. But then I grew up. Went to college. Realized that sometimes what we're taught, isn't exactly what happens in the real world. Those little quotes should have caveats. Like, "You can do anything you want to do... if you have enough money." "You can be whatever you want to be... so long as it fits into what your family, friends, and society think you should do."
Depressing, right? I know. And just as firmly as I believed in my young-girl-dreams, I also firmly believed that I would be relegated to this life of mediocracy. Of "just getting by." Of never breaking free from a cubicle dwelling role. Of working for someone else and leaving my dreams behind. The truth is (and let's be honest - it's a common truth for many people) is that I was scared. I was scared of rocking the boat and making changes that seemed hard. I was scared to lose. Scared to win. Scared to do something that people thought was silly or "not going to work."
At one point, I asked myself: which is worse... being scared or being miserable?
I knew the answer. I'd known it all along. I just needed a nudge. A push. A little faith from outside forces. And when I got it - it was everything I thought it would be. Scary. Hard. A lot of work. But if I could do it - if I could JUST commit to making the change - I KNEW I would be happier. I knew that I would succeed.
There were days right after I was gone from my full-time job (and working a small part-time job) that I thought, "Oh my god. I'm crazy. I'm full-on, bat-shit crazy. What the hell did I do?" And I KNOW there are some family members and friends who thought the same. And then there were people, who I'll never give the satisfaction of naming, who laughed at me. Talked behind my back. Said I was crazy for doing what I did. For attempting to follow my dreams.
But the thing no one tells you is that underneath - we ALL want the same things. We all want to be happy. We all want to find work that lights up our soul and makes us smile in the morning. We all dream of being able to reach that pinnacle someday. But it's a scary thing to admit and many people don't. Because they're afraid and because settling becomes "good enough" for people.
My mother would tell you that I've always danced to the beat of my own drum. That I always seem to take the hard/challenging road and make things hard for myself. She's not wrong. "Good enough" isn't good enough for me. Being "relatively happy" is not good enough for me.
And it was all of the things people are scared of. It was hard. It was intimidating. It was a lot of work. I was poor. I was weak. But I was also really really strong. And motivated. And supported by the right people. And above all: I was passionate. Passionate about ME. About what I knew I had living within me. About what I knew I could bring to the table. This life is too short to be lived passively - I know that now. And that can mean so many things to so many different people. For me - a passive life is where 90% of your time is spent unhappy. Hating your job. Hating yourself. Hating your house, your car, etc. And not doing anything about it.
For a long time - I really didn't believe in the whole "choose happiness," "you make your own happiness," and "if you don't like it - change it." I thought they were silly platitudes said by people who were lucky enough to be able to do those things. If only I could CHOOSE happiness - ha!
And then, you know what? I did all three. I stopped blaming the outside world for what *I* was lacking and decided to make a change because I didn't like where my life was going. Happiness is a fluid thing and I'm just not the type of person who will be able to choose happiness every time, but if you ask me - happiness has a way of finding you when you invite it in. When you allow the possibility for it to live in your heart and your mind and your space - it has this neat little way of working itself in.
There have been a lot of changes and exciting things that have happened in 2015. And I don't want to hash them out here because the individuality of those things is not what's important. It's that for the first time in my life - I rarely have a "bad" day. For the first time in my life - I wake up excited about my day because I've worked hard to get where I'm at (and I'm nowhere close to being where I want to be!). Instead of lying in bed for hours thinking about how much I hate my life, I lie in bed for hours wondering what awesome thing is gonna happen next. I'm kept up because I am so happy with the way things are.
And this could all end tomorrow. It could end next month. Next year. Or maybe it won't ever end. Maybe, I am one of the luckiest 20-somethings to find her calling and change her life around early. Perhaps the changes I've made in my life now, will only sweeten the pot for the things to come. I don't know. And for an anxious, control-freak like myself, to feel okay with that is glorious.
Because life could end in an instant. And I want to know that in those very last moments of mine - that I'd lived a full life. That I'd lived passionately. Beautifully.
If you'd have told me last year that this is where I'd be... I would have laughed you away. But here I am. Standing strong and happy. So 2015, you win. You are the year of ALL GOOD THINGS.