Life 3.0 – Christmas

You find me in a somewhat unfamiliar situation.

For the greater majority of my life, the coming of Christmas always brought with it a fair amount of depression and anxiety because the Holiday season was my annual reminder of when I left home and ended up on the other side of the continent.

As a person does in not wanting to be the killjoy of everyone else’s yuletide, I learned long ago to put on my best mask and convince those around me that everything was all right and I was as much into the spirit of the season as they were. So for 28 years, I did just that, but in the back of my mind, it was impossible to ignore the degree of homesickness and regret that would inexorably take over.

I know that’s something not many people would be able to understand and I get that. I don’t know of anyone else in my life who was never able to be around family and be in the place where they feel most comfortable and it’s the most conducive to celebrating the occasion.

And that’s not to say I didn’t have good holidays when I was in Portland and was still married and closer to my friends than I am now. If anything, those occasions were absolutely essential to me getting through it in as good of shape as I was in when it was over and I am so glad they happened.

But towards the end of my time in the Pacific Northwest, Christmas had become a really brutal point of the year because I wasn’t able to see my son and with my friends all off with families of their own or other friends, I usually found myself extremely isolated which is a very dangerous place to be.

Last Christmas, for example, I was housesitting for a friend who had gone to California to be with her family, and I woke up in such a bad state of depression that I spent the entire day, the ENTIRE day, curled up in a ball under the sheets of the bed I was sleeping on in a completely dark room.

That’s just not a good place to find yourself, regardless of what time of the year it was.

So when I made the decision to initiate Life 3.0 and finally go back home, the question I had to answer for myself was how was I going to handle getting to this time of the year, because my primary reason to spend it in the doldrums was no longer applicable.

I’m home. I made it back and I have to figure out how my life is going to go now that I’m here, which means I also don’t have any real excuse to let the same negativity get its hooks into me.

Now that is not to say that I don’t want to be able to spend the holidays with my son or able to see my friends who are back in Portland. I’d very much like to since I miss them all, but for this year at least, it’s not an option.

So this is a year where I just have to make the best of it and do something nice for myself. I still haven’t figured out what that is yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure out something. Being able to go out and enjoy the winter weather and the beautiful snowscapes that have arrived already has helped a lot already.

Ideally, if I can get through Christmas then I can roll into the New Year with the hope that it will quickly bring me a new job and the means to get totally on my feet and rolling on all the things I want to get done in 2017.

In terms of things I could put on my holiday want list, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Slumptown

I sat down with this past weekend and tried to get back into working on my writing, both by myself and in the company of friends, and by the time I was done, I was feeling rather disappointed and frustrated with how little I was able to produce.

This afternoon, I finished sending off yet another round of job applications and portfolios and rather than go out and do something to kill the rest of my day, I tried to get back into one of the three books I kept out of storage to read. Within the first two minutes, I had to put it down and take a breath or else I was either going to rip the book in half or just chuck it across the room.

To offset my frustration, I’ve been trying to focus on things that usually help me through these periods, like getting out of the house and using my camera, watching movies and things which I turn to for some form of intellectual stimulation.

Unfortunately, it works for the extreme short-term, but when I try jumping back into the things I want to work on, the motivation to put my head down and soldier through it just isn’t there anymore…and that’s a rather frightening place to find yourself in.

Creativity has always been a primary outlet and anĀ escape for me going back to when I was a kid and I never considered it to be a finite resource. After all, the human capacity to create something artistic out of anything or nothing seems as boundless as our imaginations are wanting to go.

And when you suddenly discover the well has gone dry, or as my brother Patrick observed, the creative muscle has atrophied to the point where it seems hardly useable anymore, trying to figure out how to best rehabilitate it back to life is both a daunting and difficult task.

Now I’ve been in slumps before, just like any other artistic or creatively inclined person is prone to fall prey to, but this feels different, more severe, and I’m not entirely sure why.

I know part of me hoped the change of location that came with Life 3.0 would help rekindle it in some way, and to be fair to myself, I’ve only been back home for a month now. With everything else I’m trying to get done in the span of a day, I suppose I shouldn’t expect to be able to jump from the primary need to get my life moving in a forward direction again to the other foot of working on all the pet projects that are bouncing around in my head.

At the same time, though, I do. I know the rewrite of my book is not going to be done until I sit down at this laptop and start cranking chapters and pages out again. I want to get it done, but every time I do, the words just aren’t there to be mined.

So why can’t I get my creative muscles moving again and what can I do to get them back in shape?

Anyone…? Anyone…? Bueller…?