Art by Mike Bell
Obviously, I’ve taken a few days off through the holidays, and in an almost cyclical resurgence, it’s been a time of grieving for me. Partially because I’m an empath and this time of year is hard for Jen, but partly because it’s the dawn of a new year and the death of an old one.
For good or for bad I take a look at my life and evaluate where I am. Am I happy? Am I where I want to be? Are there things I need to let go of? Stuff I need to pick up? I often think this is a negative process for me. I over think I imagine things that are not there. I take trails down what ifs that aren’t true. (Sorry, just the reality of what I go through.)
I’ve had a hard time in the past with letting go. Not of the things, others have done to me, but of the things, I’ve done, or not done to myself. Goals I haven’t reached, promises I told myself that I haven’t kept.
AHHHHHHHHHH! I just want to punch a pillow and curl into a ball and cry.
We all know New Years Resolutions are bullshit, but nonetheless, we desire change, newness, and progress towards our dreams. We desire freedom from things that have bound us, and we want loose of the things that have held us back.
Change is hard but possible. Growth is hard but possible. Freedom is possible! But these things take effort. They take inertia.
It’s hard for me to put forth effort when I focus on how far I want to go, how much I want to change. My immediate response is to start blaming my past, my wife, my parents, for why I’m not where I want to be. But do I even know where I want to be, or am I just speculating because of societal pressures?
The older I get, the more I realize that it’s okay to live a life that others don’t understand. The more I move in that direction, the more lonely I feel. So what’s the answer? Can you tell I’ve been in a tough place?
SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED TO DO WHEN THE DARKNESS COMES IN
1. Take a Step Back, Breath, or Get Away.
I have a tendency to get lost in the daily rhythms. To just keep doing the same things, wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. This pattern is easy to keep going until it’s not. When I feel the walls closing in, I know it’s time for me to get away. For an hour, a day, a week, whatever I can make happen.
Take a step back and evaluate where I used to be. Look how far it is that I have come. Allow myself to feel good about that, to be proud. Allow gratefulness to overwhelm me.
I have things that I want in the future, desires. I take some time to write those things down, look at them, dream about them. How do I feel doing that new thing? Am I scared? But it feels good, doesn’t it?
Because of my learning disability (Global Learner), I have to begin with the big picture in mind. So dreaming the big picture result of what I want is really important to me getting there.
To make the dreams manageable, I have to backtrack from the big picture. What’s it going to take for me to get there this year?
To frame this where it helps me the most, I have to backtrack all the way to the point where it leads to a checklist of to do’s. The to-do list then goes into my weekly planner and daily work calendar. It gives my days focus, makes my week actionable, and brings a tremendous amount of satisfaction to me.
You see, when I find myself in the dark place, the place I have been for the last few weeks over the holidays. I lose sight of these steps. I forget the dream, and I forget to look back at my journal and to schedule my week and days around the dream. This is when life gets dark for me. Getting back on track leads me back down the steps I just laid out for you. It's not a black and white process; I wish it were. I wish I didn't just spend the last two weeks filled with depression, forgetting about these things. But I did.
I hope my transparency and steps help you. What about you? Does this register for you in any way? How do you pull out of the dark places?
Comment Below and Let Me Know!
Zac is a Heretic, Apostate, Idealist, יֵשׁוּעַ Leaning Secular Humanist with Anarchistic Tendencies. Who happens to have been through some shit too. He hosts a weekly podcast and considers himself a Creative, Content Maker, Podcaster, Keynote, and Host.