I’m one pill away from being diagnosed as clinically depressed or exaggeration – either one.
Something’s missing – and I have no idea what it is. Lots of people have things missing in their lives – and it’s not easy to pinpoint what it is. Some people have too much and find it hard to cope – job, family, kids… usually, that’s about it. For me, I have a somewhat, downgraded version of life and I’m beginning to realise we’re not exactly built this way. I think our human selves are made to take on more and adapt and grow. So, your system goes into a state of flux when there’s not enough balls to juggle (“your” system = “my” system – there’s a strong chance this only happens to me, but honestly, I’m not that special).
So, what makes a healthy life? A good balance (almost impossible to achieve) of different elements that focus on self and others? Our culture is indoctrinated to encourage others to add more elements to their lives (“Oh, when are you guys getting married? When are you guys having a kid? Another kid? Dying any time soon?”) – so there’s always going to pressure from all sides. Last Christmas, a family friend shook my hand and in one breath, asked, “Hi! Merry Christmas! When are you getting married?” There’s no appropriate response other than open-mouthed shock (and slight awe).
Here are the elements I have deciphered that could possibly make me happier (or more miserable):
Most people define themselves by the type of work they do. As a creative, I’ll admit to loving the sweet rush of coming up with a really great concept, executing it well and finally seeing it in spaces. The cherry on top is when the response to it is positive. Of course, all this comes with blood, sweat, tears and regurgitation. People in “regular” jobs also tend to be impressed easily when you tell them that you work in the creative industry – it seems like a dream job, a pursuit of passion. I think I have come to a crossroad – either I pursue freelancing aggressively (let’s face it, I’ve been working for about 2-3 days a week and watching TV for the rest of the time. I’ll admit it!) or go back to the workforce – to the land of disposable and steady income. I’ve been earning a pittance while freelancing and I sorely miss having my Art Director salary. So, I either start a small business plan or get a job. (I’m giving myself a 50% rate of success)
It’s amazing that I’m putting this at No.2 – I have never liked exercising and have only been on a treadmill once in my life and spent half the time trying to figure out the buttons. I did a dance class once with a girlfriend and that was actually quite good fun. Other than that, I’ve never joined a gym or done anything vaguely exercisey. However, the inevitability of gravity has caught up with me – and I see no other chance but to incorporate exercise into my life – in one way or another. I think the key is finding what you like to do. I love cycling so I do that quite a bit now. I also love music so I do brisk walking with my giant headphones (I can’t jog, I have the shins of a 70-year old woman). I am now considering adding yoga to this busy regime of mine – bearing in mind that I can’t even touch my toes when I bend. I need stuff like this to be accessible to me, so I’ll need to find somewhere close to where I live to get this done – and of course, doesn’t cost my spine. I am, however, realising the value of movement and hopefully, this realisation carries through. (I’m giving myself a 50% rate of success)
I have ignored the unrecognised value of engaging your mind. I have not painted in years (potato-printing with my niece does not count) and I hate that I keep wanting to do and yet am fixed, rooted, in one spot (this by the way, is the story of my life). I live only with intentions. Another activity I sorely miss is drumming. For some reason, I don’t have single photo of me drumming – all I have is the warm memories of how I felt every time I sat behind a kit. Till today, I strongly believe it’s the one thing I was born to do – because my God, it came almost effortlessly. I taught myself to play “Are You Gonna Go My Way” (drummed by the awesome Cindy Blackman) within the first hour of ever sitting at a kit. Bear in mind, that I had no idea what any of the drum parts were called. All I knew was “hi-hats” and “snare”. I can’t remember the second song I played but I remember being stumped by Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” for the few days after. Damn you, Ulrich – but thanks to him, all I wanted to do was run on the double bass. And within months, I played Dave Weckl licks and indeed, running on that double bass. I used to hear other drummers stop playing the practise rooms next door, and peep through my door. The last time I drummed was maybe a year ago – when I found a studio near my workplace and I was so unbelievably rusty and paranoid that people were peeping at me. So, do I have to drive to pick all this up again? (I’m giving myself a 50% rate of success)
Oh, this is a big one. My biological clock has been going off the hook recently – maybe it’s the flurry of peers having babies, maybe it’s PMS, maybe it’s inevitable, maybe it’s bullshit. Generally, I still don’t like babies but I’m at the stage now, where it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Of course, a supportive husband should come with that – I ain’t changing diapers on my own. But I’m still slightly sane enough to know that this is not the hole-filler I’m looking for right now.
I strongly believe that there is no such thing as true altruism. You still feel good when you help someone – and that pleasant feeling is of a benefit to you. That is of course, no reason to not do something nice for someone else. I won’t go into any volunteering work I’ve done – but I will accept that I have enjoyed it. The direction I would definitely love to see my helping out in, would be animals (of course). Animal rights would be my strongest rally – so I’d really like to organise my time to doing something with this. I’m fine with cleaning out cages. Twice a year, I round up Dolce’s toys and get some treats together to donate to the less fortunate dogs. Lord knows Dolce has plenty to spare.
So, in other words, I have some soul-searching to do. My biggest problem is that I’ll search and then do nothing about it once I realise the probable solutions. I need a motivator! A life coach! Someone like Tony Robbins, only not as tall. I need a hero!