Thoughts at the Close of 2015

I said in an earlier post called “Emotional Depth” that I wanted to focus on acknowledging and feeling present joy and I’m proud to say that I’m doing that. I am making a concerted effort to recognize and revel in the happy moments I’ve been having, whether they’re large or small. Most are small, but I’m O.K. with that.


There’s a moment of me singing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” at the top of my lungs in the car. A moment of me cooking a new dish, sage-sausage and apple stuffing, and exclaiming “I’ve still got it!” when it tastes amazing. A moment of me arguing with my step-dad that “Grumpy Old Men” doesn’t count as a Christmas movie just because the characters celebrate Christmas in it. A moment of me getting an idea for the perfect gift. A moment of me relishing a beautiful sentence in a book by an author I love. A moment, no longer than a few seconds, where I thought I could, just maybe, one day live alone.


Collected together they tint my days a brighter color. If I let them, they have the power to sustain me through the grim moments. They rekindle my fading optimism. That positive voice, gone grainy, clears its throat and tells me that whatever bad stuff happens, I’ll be all right.


The last part of my year has been really hard, but now, at the close, I’m choosing to look back and see the good stuff.


I can’t banish the bad stuff, and sometimes the bad stuff has to take center stage. Sometimes, the best I can do is hunker down while the bad things rage and storm, wait for them to break. Then I pick myself up and start to rebuild. And if I can’t, if I absolutely can’t pick myself up, then I stay as still as I need to, for as long as I need to, but try to find something good in me, or in my day, or in the world.


I remember a former therapist who was always trying to get me to do just that. She gave me an exercise: each morning when I woke up I was supposed to look around me and find something good because she was convinced that if I looked, I’d find something. She thought it would help alleviate my depression. She said, Maybe the sunlight coming through your window looks pretty. Maybe you feel cozy under all your blankets. Notice these things and appreciate them.


Back then I thought she was crazy—why should I give a fuck about the sun when all I could see in front of me, above me, behind me, around me, inside me, was black on black on black? But I get it now. Even when your entire day seems bad because so many bad things happened in it there are always good things there you’re choosing to overlook. I should say I’m choosing to overlook, because that’s been my habit. Well, as I learned from quitting smoking, habits can be broken if I’m driven enough.


I don’t know how 2016 will be for me. I know better than to try and predict whether I will be mostly well or mostly unwell. I do know that I will work hard to maintain this new sense of balance. Through balance comes stability and stability is what I’m most hoping for in this upcoming year.