Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Time of the Year

lately, i’ve been feeling kinda blue, kinda blah. it’s the normal holiday season stuff where i pop my head out of the trenches, look around and think to myself, “how’d the end of the year get here so fast? why didn’t i do x, y and z like i had planned?” some days i feel as though i’m far too behind to ever catch up to where i should be right now. other days i feel as though my expectations are ridiculous and i should stop whatever i’m doing and find some friends to laugh with while drinking wine and being merry.

i try to tell myself that life is too short and also still long, so i shouldn’t stress over the fact that i haven’t begun writing The Great American Novel or made enough money to retire by 35. i remind myself that, yay, you bought a house this year! yay, your dogs are sweet and well behaved (sorta). yay, you have good friends and family, and love in your life. i try to count my blessings and imagine how much worse things could be and maybe will be in the future. i try to imagine the alternative — a life lived in Russia, eating snow for thanksgiving and growing a third eye from the Chernobyl explosion in the eighties.

but still, there’s an ick and an ache, a melancholy that says things could be better, i could do better. i could be working harder, writing every night, taking classes, exercising daily, keeping the house cleaner. i could be dreaming up the next great invention, or at least perfecting my burrito recipe. i could do more volunteer work, make that any volunteer work, and resist the urge to sleep all day when there are languages to be learned and dreams to be realized. i could be, would be, should be doing everything i can to quit being so damn average.

holidays really drive it home, reminding me of the x, y and z missing from my list of accomplishments. i know, i bought a house this year and that should warrant some backslapping, but it’s not much comfort because i know i won’t be buying a house next year or the year after. as exhilarating as it was to reach that milestone, it created a vacancy, too. and it’s not like buying a house is some extraordinary accomplishment that landed me the cover of Time magazine as its Person of the Year.

maybe i need a long-term goal to focus on, something that will evoke tunnel vision instead of melancholy, providing me with a sense of purpose instead of the stability that makes me restless. or perhaps i need a long vacation to help me restore perspective — i could visit my three-eyed cousins in Russia. a day at the spa would also be good; i could use a little pampering. or maybe i just need a really rich piece of cheesecake.

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