“It’s always darkest before the dawn” – Florence + The Machine
I had moments last year, where all I wanted was to bury myself deep into the covers and never resurface. I would roll out of bed–right foot then left–and wonder how I could get out of living one more day.
“How can I escape?”
I couldn’t. I tried the naïve way one time, taking a couple of aspirins and trying to knock back one too many drinks. It didn’t work and I couldn’t. I couldn’t physically do it to my family or friends. Somedays I thought about ways the universe could make it happen. But I had no control of the universe, I settled in knowing I had to continue on somehow.
So I would stop into Whole Foods for Dough’s donuts and those big shortbread sandwich cookies with the jelly on the inside. I would skip the gym. I would go for walks after work. I would go home and cry. And I would do it again the next morning, a zombie crawling onward to the end of days. There was no fire. And if there was one, I would have rather it been outside of me at the time than inside of me so that I could jump in. Some days, I didn’t care who I hurt. I would pull myself together just long enough to take the train home and crumble, crying into bed, despite my parents still being there.
Nothing felt exciting. Or new. Or worth smiling about. Dressing up seemed like a days worth of work. I felt too tired to even consider getting my hair washed in a timely manner.
“Really, can’t I just sleep?”
26 was a rough year. Nothing seemed to fall into place. My goals felt farther and farther away by the minute and every second wasted was a second I would never get again. Sometimes I wonder how I made it to 27.
The only thing one can do in dark periods is to keep living.
I had the chance last week to attend Live In the Grey + Poppin’s workshop “Making Hard Choices: A Workshop To Discover Your Values & Define Your Career.” I was invited by a contact at Poppin, and figured it couldn’t hurt since I am making this the year I create a life I love. Live In The Grey + Poppin’s workshop may have been geared towards defining one’s career, but taking the time to think about my values helped me define more about myself and my life. It helped me think about the values I want to live by–but don’t–and what I can do to align my life with those values. It helped me feel hopeful and energized and excited.
I felt that way once last year: when I took a Photography class and couldn’t wait to create more aesthetically pleasing photos for this blog. Doing something that directly correlated to my goals and the life I want made me so jubilant, I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it for days after! Soon, reality set back in and all the joy I felt from that class was eclipsed.
This year, my first and primary goal, is me. What makes me happy? What goals do I want to achieve? What values do I want to live by? Where do I want to be? What do I want to do?
It’s easy to get lost in “I can’t.”
“I can’t because…”
… I don’t have the money.
… I don’t have the skills.
… I don’t have the time.
… I don’t have the looks.
… I don’t have…
The truth is though, we have what we need. Our bank accounts may be empty, and trust me I have been to the point where my paychecks barely pay the bills and I would walk all around town in these beat up Converses that I had to tip toe in when it rained (because there was a huge hole in the bottom of both). But guess what? I still had me. I still got up, day in and day out and I would go to work and pay the bills. I didn’t want to but I did. I kept looking for new opportunities. I would tell myself there was no point. I would quit searching one day and get back to it the next. I spent months without even the slightest bite, but when I got the first there were a million more right after. When your life is not yours, the most important question to ask yourself is: “What can I do, now, at this moment to create the life I love without needing anything other than myself?“
Sometimes, it’s as simple as:
- Writing down your goals
- Spending an hour or two in the local library or B&N reading up
- Finding free online classes (or YouTube videos/tutorials)
- Talking to people at your job, and letting them know your interests
When it comes down to everything, keep living. Because you never know if the next day is the day the clouds will break. And in those really scary moments when you want to take a huge risk but might not be sure how things will end up or things think will fall to shit, take the risk. It won’t always turn out how you want to but it will turn out okay. I was unemployed, broke, in debt, depressed, and living in an apartment that made me unhappy. Was being the keyword. I wasn’t fired, I quit my job. And it sucked, but I was okay. I had no funds, no savings, no padding: just a credit card and a want (need?) to be happy. To wake up to a life that always makes me want to rise up out of bed, whether it’s Monday or Saturday.
I am not exactly where I want to be just yet, but here is much better than where I was.
Your dawn is coming.