Why So Miserable?
Sunday-after-Thanksgiving traffic put me in a wonky mood. What is typically a nine-hour drive back to Nashville turned into a salty thirteen. What was once an interstate morphed into a 50-mile parking lot. Rain pouring down. Total darkness. Jackson C. Frank blaring from the car speakers.
Livin' is a gamble, baby
Lovin's much the same
Wherever I have played
Wherever I throw those dice
Wherever I have played
The blues run the game
Brief solace was found in a Wendy’s parking lot. Ultimate Chicken Grill. Hold the fries. Nutrition.
I’d like to say that this entire scenario was nothing short of ridiculous, except I’m pretty sure I felt genuinely distressed. To my core. Distressed.
Other people in traffic that night probably experienced similar unrest; I’m just not convinced they chose to heighten it. With a dangerous playlist playing and a mind wandering, it was I who set the stage for any and all anxieties/doubts/feelings to surface. Being in the car alone for an extended period of time will do that anyway, but my actions were textbook fuel-to-fire.
It makes me wonder: am I the only one who eats this wallow-y shit up?
No, I am not.
We all do it. Maybe not all of us internalize with some help from depressed folk-musicians of the 60s, but we all find our ways.
Think back on your post-grad life thus far.
Think about conversations with your friends.
There is always something wrong, right?
The problem isn’t that there is a problem. The problem is how much focus we choose to put on the problem. I think we all walk around kind of anticipating a day where things are calm. Our lives are together and we trudged through the shit long enough to reach that point.
But the reality is as long as you allow your problems to be forefront, things will never be calm. 22 has it’s own set of issues, but so will 32, 42, 52. Even if you land the dream job, the dream relationship, or whatever it is you think will define your “dream” life, expect problems to follow. Because that is life and life is not always peachy and that is okay. It’s all in the focus.
Part of me thinks we like to make ourselves miserable because there is comfort in it. Once you let something go, it is no longer yours. As long as there is something to dwell on, it is still yours. You will continue to identify yourself with it.
Maybe we’re scared of letting go because we feel like we’re losing a part of ourselves that we have deeply identified with, even if it is something negative. That calls to action something greater, and that is scary. Action is scary! But worth it! Always!
[Photo by Ally Willis.]