So I got all forward thinking the other day and started making lists of things I want to accomplish in the next three months, the next six months, the next two years. I feel good about these lists though I haven’t looked at them since I wrote them, as I feel kind of personally paralyzed right now and am afraid if I push it too much I’ll feel defeated by not having done enough of the things on the lists. I do need a kick in the pants. Motivation. I’m definitely mildly (though not to the point of incapacitation) depressed. I’m trying to pull out of it. But really the economy sucks, in the last month I’ve had to take more painkillers than I ever have before, I lost a fucking tooth and the guy I’ve been dating for the last six months is moving out of the country, probably permanently. So if I feel a little down I think I’m completely justified.
Recently I was out walking with a lovely woman I know and we were talking about a friend and I commented that this friend needed to learn to dream as big as possible, to see every possibility for the future and then scale it back to make his own life livable and to find happiness. Almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth I realized that I forgotten how to do this as well. Oh sure, I can remember how to complain about things I don’t have, things I’ve lost, things that have been destroyed. I can say, “wouldn’t it be nice if…” But somewhere along the line I’ve let go of how to imagine to most I know I can do and reach for it, even when whatever I am reaching for continuously morphs and changes.
I’m not exactly sure what happened. Maybe I set my sites on TN with a plan and everything around me evolved and I never changed my plan and suddenly was left stuck in the mud. Maybe that’s what depression is at its root: when you lose sight of both the near and far and you discover too late that you are mired in a deep pit of your own making. And I know sometimes you can climb out of that pit on your own and sometimes you have to ask for a hand to pull you up. Right now I think I can still claw my way up, but it seems to be getting slipperier. I just need to pause, settle to rest on a ledge, take a deep breath and remember that I can actually do anything that I imagine.
Dreaming big is a strange line to walk. I was born into a generation that was told we could be anything. Girls can have any job and everyone was equal and loved. Go to college and anything can happen. You too can be a Supreme Court Justice or cure cancer or make millions of dollars just working in an office. Sesame Street taught us that we were all special and bound for greatness, especially since we could count to ten! Every Gen X kid can tell you now that we grew up to a very different world than what we were promised. The future did not provide hover cars, excellent pay for so little work, or an endlessly growing economy. But still the place I’ve ended up has taught me a lot. I can find my comfort zone, define it and stretch it out, change it at will. I can keep learning. If I want to move to Spain I can figure out how to do it. When faced with the prospect of sliding back into the muddy pit of depression, I can reach higher, climb better and eventually lay myself on the green grass, in the sun to rest before I fill that hole so completely that nothing can fall back into it. I might only be a waitress but I am the best waitress you’ve ever seen. And when I dream of more than this, I become more than this. So when you see me, don’t forget to remind me that better things are surely around the corner. And maybe give me a cookie and hug because right now I’m still sitting on that ledge, halfway up the side of the pit I slipped in to.