How did everything get so... serious?

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 15, 2022, 11:21 PM | comments: 0

I'm not exactly sure why, but I've had two straight nights of really good sleep. I also can't explain why sleep has become so challenging in the last few years. I think it's mostly my inability to give my brain a rest. Naturally that causes me to wonder why I can't turn my brain off. But in the clarity and sharpness that follows great sleep, I woke up, got in the shower, where I think a lot, and wonder how everything got to be so serious.

It's really everything. It's work, parenting, money, health, trying to set up a better future, human rights and democracy, the environment... it all feels heavy and urgent and serious. It doesn't feel that way everyday, but it feels that way more often than not. I was so excited about the way that bupropion changed my quality of life, but now I feel like there's this constant anxiety following me around. It feels awesome to be not depressed, but I could really go for more fun and less gravity.

Truthfully, I understand and can describe what causes some of this, but while I'm an open book about wider issues and human challenges, I can't put everything on the Internet. One contributing factor though is that I think keeping busy with things that I'm deeply interested in and enjoy helps me stay out of my head. This is that time of year though that I always get stuck, when there aren't really vacations and we're two months after the last and two months before the next holiday. I also think that another symptom of midlife is that we really start to forget how to see the world in the most flexible terms, to see endless possibilities. I like to think that I'm still curious and my imagination is dynamic, but it's hard to be objective about that sort of thing.

There's definitely a part of me that wonders if life was ever less serious. I can't remember a time that I was ever really care-free beyond little spurts of time, and mostly on vacations. It feels like there has always been something important to be accountable to, or an outcome to achieve, or a need to fit and belong. I can't even define what it looks like to be truly free of all that. Is it to have a pile of money in the bank? Guaranteed healthcare? A grown and independent child? Distance from relationships that don't serve you?

The good news is that those care-free moments do exist, and I know what they look like. The challenging part is figuring out how to make them out of smaller things. Like hearing a song that sparks joy or watching a sunset. I also have to remember that the weighty things probably aren't as serious as I make them out to be. Perspective is hard.


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