I’ve never experienced a real depression before. I’ve had stretches of time when I’ve felt low but they were always circumstantial. Once the problem was fixed, I’d go back to normal. That being said, I’ve noticed that I don’t experience moments of euphoria very often anymore. When I was a teenager and even a little bit into college, my highs were high and my lows were low. Then that changed, of course, as I got older and settled more into my skin and now I’m just me, which for the most part is good. Solid. No complaints. But is it weird that I sort of miss having crazy moods? When things sucked, they seemed insurmountable but when they were good, it felt like spooning on a rainy day while eating five slices of chocolate cake. We eventually have to sacrifice the euphoria in order to grow up and be emotionally stable. Intellectually, I know this is a good thing. I know that the extreme happiness I experienced as a teen wasn’t worth the feelings of despair and hopelessness that often followed it. But damn, sometimes it’s boring being (relatively) stable.
When I get happy now, I feel safe and secure, like my life is headed in the right direction and things are working out just fine. It feels good but not “Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch” good. How do I get to that place again, or rather, more often? Looking back on the last few years, there have been a few maniacal happy moments but they don’t equal the ones I used to have as an adolescent. Can you ever experience them without having to piggyback on the lows? Can you be Tom Cruise happy without later having to be Tom Cruise psycho?
A lot of my newfound even temperament has something to do with the fact that I’m rarely surprised these days. When I was in school, something major would happen every day that would send me either into a spiral or into the clouds. Now my friends and I have stable routines, which feels amazing, but can also leave us wanting more excitement. Major things still happen but not every day. Now we look forward to the surprises rather than just expect them to be right around the corner.
I guess it’s normal to mourn the things we’ve lost and have difficulty accepting the person who you’ve become and will continue to be. At the age of 25, I see myself settling more and more into some kind of permanence. Ultimately it’s amazing. A lot of people don’t transition well and suffer from some sort of Peter Pan syndrome, so I’m fortunate to make such a smooth transition. But I don’t know. Sometimes I miss having such a strong reaction to everything. “I LOVE IT! I HATE IT!” has morphed into “Oh, that’s nice. Oh, that’s super annoying.” There must be a way to reignite that passion without becoming an emotional basketcase. I just haven’t found it yet.