A mental splinter
I've lived with a sort of malaise recently. I haven't been able to put my finger on what's really wrong.
It could be less sleep. It could be little time for reflection. It could be the season.
I get up, go to work, come home, mess around on the internet. There's an unending list of chores to do, but I save them for another day. I just want to feel like things are going right and be excited to go through my days, but I haven't felt like this.
I'm a big believer in “mind over matter,” so when I started noticing how persistent this shitty feeling was, I tried changing things.
I thought about past times when I felt on top of the world. I thought about what life was like then; what I did and thought about every day. But this only made things worse because my next thought was, well now it can't be that way, or I've drank too much over the past few years to have those kind of insights anymore. And I have to make money. I have to go to work every day. I have to do chores. I alone am responsible for what I do and how my life goes now, so I need to take charge.
I've also seen myself get fatter over the past few years, getting squishy in the midsection, and finally decided to do something about it. It's something, right? So I started biking to work again, even though I have to ride on busy roads with all the drivers speeding and texting, rushing to get to work before everyone else, and ride up huge hills (though the way down is always nice). I also started working out — lifting weights, because it's relaxing. And I've changed my diet as best I can, going for protein over carbs, and keeping beer out of the house as an added barrier to my most favorite source of weight gain.
These things have started taking up more of my day, especially since deciding to work out on my lunch break. I feel like maybe I'm doing something wrong by not sitting at my desk for as much as my daily 8-hour session as possible, but I also look at it this way: when you have a splinter in your foot, your body bugs you with pain to make you pay attention. My thinking is that a mild depression (or whatever the hell it is) might be a mental splinter, a signal from my body making sure I address things before it goes in any deeper.
I'm lucky enough to not get harassed too much while I stretch the boundaries of my boss's expectations. But still, sometimes figuring out exactly what's going wrong, and reflecting on your own actions and hopes is a prerequisite for doing your job well. The “good life” certainly means different things to different people, and I certainly have it good by society's standards. But right now there's a disconnect with my own values that I need to fix before I can go back to making society happy. Hopefully a few small changes is what it takes.