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.