Everyone I spoke to told me, “it goes in waves.” I really didn’t like that answer. “It” didn’t satisfy me. Since New Years Eve my 2016 has been relatively slow and painful. A quick gloss over my recent activities, some scrolls through my Instagram and taps through my Snapchat story would tell you I’m having an incredible time being alive in 2016, but alas those are the highlight reels: mere moments.
Was it the post-Christmas blues? Well maybe that explains January. But then again, I’m not a child and Christmas doesn’t put me on Cloud 9 like it used to (not in a depressing way, just in a mature adult way, I think). Was it my lack of Valentine’s romance in February? Well no, I had a valentine. Albeit, things didn’t work out, there was still love in the air and flowers in a vase. Was it the cold weather? Weather can’t truly dictate our moods, can it? Maybe for a day or two, but for weeks? No way. I grew up in Canada, I’m used to the cold. I only wish it was one of those easy reasons.
I’ve spent quite sometime pondering the potential different reasons why I answered most of the “how are u?” texts I received in the last several weeks, with “bleh”. Just bleh. I was so aware of it, too. I knew I was bleh. I lacked motivation and drive, something I typically attribute to my character. My daily pursuits of bigger goals became mostly afterthoughts. I lacked focus. And after a few weeks of lacking motivation, drive and focus, I began to lack confidence, another character trait I’m sure many close friends and colleagues would attribute to the regular me. I began digging for reasons. All these negative feelings could be stemming from the fact that I was organically and somewhat forcefully expanding my networking and surrounding/inserting myself with/into a new social group where I was clearly the “new guy”. But in reality, I’ve been the new guy plenty of times before, in high school, in sports, in a new city, etc. We all have. It’s not that big of deal. Plus, the people I was befriending were great people, so that couldn’t be it.
Maybe it was because I was drinking and partying a lot. A lot of late nights and money pissed away. (Even while writing that sentence I can just sense my father’s disappointment from a million miles away). Well, that could be it as alcohol is a downer and I’m no longer the young sprite I was at 19, bouncing back from a hangover with a mere glass of water and a few push ups. These days Atmosphere’s line from his 2007 hit “Sunshine”, “mad that I gave half the day to last night” rings even more true, and it’s even worse when you wake up past noon. But I’m young. I’m having fun.
I think I realized that my feeling of bleh, was a combination of a lot of things. A little depression cocktail, if you will. I’d been feeling lost in my career, I was missing my family, I was the new guy, I was drinking a lot, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I wasn’t working out as much, my diet was subpar, I was slightly heart broken, I wasn’t being productive, I could go on.
I wrote a status the other day stating, “it took me two months to start 2016”. Because it did. The only way I was able to get out of this slump was to achieve something, anything, to get the wheels turning again. My father gave me advice many years ago that I didn’t fully understand. Basically, he explained, if you aren’t feeling good, write down a list of things to do that are very easy and do them. So I did. I wrote down laundry, gym, groceries. Basic things. But I did them. The next day I did the same. Menial simple tasks that put me back into motion. This form of getting myself back to normal felt much less daunting than looking at the pile of work that I needed to do and should do: work, workout, eat healthy, send that email, go on that date, etc. After a week of this I began feeling like I could actually accomplish things. Yeah, doing laundry is really easy but it makes you feel human and makes you feel like you’re capable of things other than wallowing in self-pity and distracting yourself from reality with funny memes.
After feeling better and opening up to my predicament to some closer, older friends they were quick to remind me that I’m still young and that it’s okay for me to feel lost at times. This was refreshing as I’m sure most of us 20-somethings can agree that we deal with a great amount of pressure, whether it derives from our need to impress our friends and parents or from our need to keep up with society’s demands. It’s hard out here. So if you find yourself in a slump, lacking motivation and the desire to get up in the morning, and realize that sex with strangers, or funny cat memes, or Netflix binging won’t pull you out of it, just do some basic human things to remind yourself that it’s okay to get down sometimes. It’s just not okay to stay down.
- Graydon Welbourn