So, last time we spoke, I was having a bit of a bout with ennui. Sort of. Not quite. I was suffering from declining interest and enjoyment in the things that normally brought me joy. So, a kind of mild depression, perhaps. Anyway, I’m happy to tell you that I have emerged from that gray place and am having a positively lovely summer. I believe a couple of realizations helped me turn the corner and get my groove back.
Now, before I tell you what these realizations were, I want to stress EMPHATICALLY that I do not know the cure for depression. I am NOT prescribing general advice here. This is just something that worked for me, a person who does not suffer from chronic depression but knows and loves several people who do. It is a very real struggle they have to deal with and I would never presume to imagine that what worked for me to chase away a small bout of “the blues” would in any way, shape, or form work for them in their situations.
So, with that disclaimer out of the way, I’ll tell you what helped me in my time of malaise.
First, I realized I missed Donald Trump.
What? Where is everyone going? No, no! Wait! I didn’t miss him miss him. I mean to say, I missed the constant barrage of stimuli he provided to my senses every day for the past four years. This is a real thing! You can look it up. Almost every day there would be a story about some ludicrous thing he had done or said. The stimulation to my senses, ranging from bewilderment to abject terror, altered (for a short time, at least) my brain chemistry.
I became used to the anxiety he provoked. I became perhaps a little dependent on the adrenaline rush I would get feeling my rage boil over at how a ridiculous moron like him could have ever been elected president.
And I missed it. I don’t anymore. I don’t think so, anyway. I think making the realization put me in a mental place where I could grapple effectively with the sort of thing I was missing.
Second, I realized that I had been drinking way too much.
No, it’s true! This is another thing that was not at all uncommon during the Trump years, specifically 2020. For me, though, I had been drinking fairly regularly for years before that as well. Nothing that ever got in the way of work or relationships, but it was something I had certainly formed a certain level of dependence on nonetheless. A functioning alcoholic, some might say, but I hate that word. It’s just got so much stigma attached to it.
Anyway, this spring I made the decision to control my drinking. I’m doing pretty well with it. I don’t plan to stop completely. I like drinking. A well-made cocktail or a nice cold beer on a hot day is one of the joys of life for me. I plan on keeping that. But, in order to keep that joy, I have to let go of drinking regularly. And I’ve found I’m able to do that without a problem. I drink only a fraction of what I had been consuming before and I feel much more energetic and even a little less bloated.
But… I’ve found I’ve had to relearn how to enjoy things without drinking. That was the toughest hurdle. And it remains a tough hurdle. It probably always will. But it’s getting a little easier. When I sit down to write or to play a computer game or watch a show, I find I no longer am missing alcohol. Well, not as much as a couple months ago, anyway. And there’s also the realization that by not drinking, the thing I am enjoying will turn into a firm memory for me rather than a fuzzy recollection.
That’s important, y’know? It’s basically all life really is, in my opinion. Every moment you enjoy you only get to hold onto it for a brief second before it turns into a memory. Much better to have those as clear as possible than fuzzy-boozey.
And one last thing has also helped me turn the corner. I’ve recommitted to my Grant Scotland writing. A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to make time to finish this book this year or it was not… ummm… going to get finished this year. That’s just how these things work. If you don’t have time for something that’s important to you, well… you just have to make the time. It’s not easy. There’s nothing easy about writing, it seems. But if it’s rewarding? Then I think you owe it to yourself to make the time.
I guess I actually am prescribing this one thing as a general one-size-fits-all piece of advice – not just about writing, but about whatever it is that is important to you in your life. If it matters to you and you get fulfillment from it, whatever it is, then you make time for it.
So, I committed myself to at least 2,000 words a week to Grant. That’s a modest and very achievable goal. And, seeing as how the book is already about a third written, it should get me very close to actually finishing it before the New Year. We’ll see. Anyway, forward progress is being made. The first week after I made the commitment, I barely got 1,000 words out. Disappointing, but better than nothing. The next week, 1,200. This week? I’m already at 1,500 and the week’s just started.
I’m feeling good about my chances. And – AND! – as I mentioned in a prior post from last year some time, making time to write goes a long way toward helping me stay mentally healthy, so I got a cool ancillary benefit going on there.
Well, that’s it. Just wanted to let everyone know I’m doing great and making good progress on all sorts of projects…. except hanging the new window shades. I swear, it’s on the to-do list. I’ll get to it.
Hope your summer is going well. Talk to you later.