Getting Your Life Together

You’ve  been sad for a long time now. 30 days, six months, four years. You know it. Your friends might know it. Your parents certainly don’t know it. Every day you wake up hoping and praying that something will change. It can’t be the weather or the location. You’ve already tried to change those but it was all done in vain. You learned that you were just as miserable when you were surrounded by palm trees as you were in a blizzard. Isn’t that a cruel joke? Ha. Ha. (Shh, no one is laughing.)

No, no, it needs to be something much bigger than that, something you’ve never experienced before, that will make you return back to normal. You’ve already tried all your usual tricks and they failed you miserably. Desperately, you rummaged through your “Things That Make Me Happy” bag and came up short. Whaaaaaaaaaat?! This has never happened before! You don’t quite understand how you could still feel so low after you ran for five miles at the gym, had the best date of your life, and climaxed around two in the morning.

You must need some moment of clarity, some divine intervention that will put you back on course. But, um, hello, when will that come? You’ve been waiting for months now and things just keep getting worse. Moments of clarity must not be very punctual. They like to take their sweet time, don’t they?

You know one thing for certain though. You can’t have another year like the one you just had. You honestly don’t have it in you. The fight is gone. You just have to start resigning yourself to the fact that this is how things are and you can’t strive for anything better. Lock yourself in your room and listen to sad music in bed. Become comfortably uncomfortable. Think to yourself “This is it. My life will be like this forever. I’ll watch others pass me by and get married while I’m sitting on my couch watching episodes of 30 Rock. So sad but oh well!” There’s almost a relief in giving up. You spent so long trying to fight off what was going to overtake you anyway. It feels good to finally  just let it win. You want me, sadness? You got me.

Then it happens. You have the change, the coveted moment of clarity. Maybe it arrives right after you have a fun night out or lay in bed with someone till two in the afternoon or go home to your parents for a long weekend. Whatever it is, it makes you realize that this is the realest thing that has happened to you since forever. Pathetic, right? You used to always have moments like this, moments when you felt plugged in and like an active participant in your own life. Now every moment you have just feels like a dull blade that’s poking against your skin, trying to draw blood but ultimately failing to make any kind of impact.

This acts as a jolt of electricity and brings you back to life. It reminds you of what you’re capable of having and, more importantly, what you deserve to have. It teaches you that you need to respect yourself. Your mind and body aren’t a garbage can and you have to start taking care of them. You have to be a doting parent who waters the plants.

Maturity often develops over time, but in some instances, it can quite literally happen overnight. It’s not necessarily about hitting a rock bottom. You don’t have to be crying in the middle of the day for no reason, or sleeping with the 400th person who doesn’t mean a thing to you, or freebasing heroin in an alleyway to realize you need to get your life together. It can happen when the bad things are still subtle, when the choppy waves are chafing against your skin but not swallowing you whole. Things don’t always have to get worse before they get better. Sometimes they can just stay regular run of the mill “ugh.”

Who knows what your life will look like in ten years? It’s pointless to think about it. All you have to remember is that you don’t have to resign yourself to anything. You don’t have to be lying on your couch while everyone moves on without you. Instead, you can just DVR that episode of  30 Rock and leave with everyone else. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://twitter.com/annie_roo annie

    holla.

  • Anna

    eh

  • boherubi

    if you had your target audience  of depressed people (mostly anyone or maybe everyone in their 20s), then this is not so helpful or as insightful. telling someone to just move on, doesnt do anything. tell me HOW

  • http://twitter.com/MellowedDrama S

    Yep. :)

  • Anonymous

    Because I’m so self absorbed, I choose to believe you wrote this for me the day before my birthday. Thank you Ryan you little star.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    Ryan, if you had girl parts, I would totally date you!

  • Clitty McLabia

    Oh man, but staying on the couch and watching 30 rock is truly satisfying. 

  • http://www.thisiswilson.com Michael Wilson

    THIS IS ABOUT MEEEEE, Like Wonderwall!

  • Redge

    This is sooo depressing.

  • michi

    The days where you find a bunch of TC articles that seem to be written for you specifically are just the best :) 

  • http://twitter.com/orcawhales Annie

    I like to think I saw you at Kiehl’s the other day /creep

  • Live

    i read this while listening to seize the day by shelly fraley. made sense.
    good text, good message.

  • em

    “Things don’t always have to get worse before they get better. Sometimes they can just stay regular run of the mill “ugh.””

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you for this.

  • guest

    this is my life right now. to a t.

  • http://twitter.com/yvonne1503 yvonne

    I shall break free of this captivity I’m in! -inserts determination surge-

  • Cory

    I was on my couch watching an episode of 30 Rock as I read this… Getting up now.

  • MSKA

    I’ve been feeling miserable like this for a looong time. Still do, but at least there’s hope now :) I love your articles, Ryan! So honest, and yet so lively and witty! 

  • http://hansleyliew.blogspot.com/ Hansley You Sheng, Liew

    Really helped me going on, I’ve been really depressed lately and this.. somehow one way or another helped me go through it bit by bit

  • http://www.facebook.com/iamjessicawebb Jessica Nicole Webb

    I love you Ryan O’Connell.

  • guesty testy

    I am really curious as to why Ryan O’Connel is the most “popular” writer on TC. He is the metaphorical Ke$ha of the metaphorical music industry of Thought Catalog: entertaining, sparkly, but lacking depth. 

    • cassius

      you’re unfriendly

  • Fei

    Brilliant!

  • Richard

    HOW DO YOU KNOW MY ENTIRE LIFE

  • Thought Catalog
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