I confess, I’ve been struggling a bit of late. As I’m coming to learn, it is a combination of things that sends me to a darker place. Work stress can definitely do it, and when I get snowed under by work is when I am the most likely to lie awake at three am and dwell on all my failures in life.
Not getting enough sleep will do it. So will feeling crappy, which is also something I struggle with, especially when I get tired and stressed.When I get pushed for time and energy, I find myself snarfing candy bars instead of snacking on the apple I brought in with me to work. I say ‘screw it’ when the staff brings in pizza (and that is the absolute *worst* thing I can eat–I’m supposed to be avoiding all dairy and wheat while I figure out what I’m allergic to) and I have a slice anyway. I recently commiserated with a friend about the constant battle to eat the kinds of foods our bodies now insist we must have, to get enough sleep, to pay the bills. The constant worry about making ends meet and what our futures hold for us.
That’s not what this post is about, however. Nope. Yesterday, I read an article in the Guardian, about a NASA-funded study that predicts the collapse of industrialized society in about 15 years. And the funny thing is, it took a lot of the pressure off me. No, seriously. It’s not that I don’t believe the article; as a matter of fact, I do, give or take a decade on the timeline there. It’s just that the level of fear-inducing news (Ebola, the war on civil rights, ISIS, terrorism in general, pandemics, zombies, etc) has reached an all-time high with the prediction of the end of life as we know it. I am officially off the hook. I can stop worrying about the house that is falling down around me and whether or not it will see me out. The future is no longer some scary place where I dine on pate-type cat food spread on gluten-free crackers. While I might conceivably grow my own food (stop laughing, I do have land), no one will be prying a gun out of my cold, dead hand because I won’t be holding a gun in the first place.
So I can stop worrying about the future.
I can live for today.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m calling work and telling them I’m not coming in today. Because part of living for today means you have to think about eating tomorrow. But what it does mean is that there are fewer long-term consequences. It means I’m going to color my hair and go to work tomorrow dressed in costume for Halloween. It means I’m going to write my stories because they make me happy and I have fun creating them. That I’m going to walk the dog to the top of the mountain and consider myself the richest person in the world because I own that view. I’m going to suck the marrow out of the bones of life because that’s all we get, people. This. Right here. Today.
I can live for today.
I can walk into a room like I own it. I will laugh and appreciate what I have and be present in the here and now with the people and animals I love most. I will give the electronics a rest. I don’t need mirrors to tell me I’m beautiful or ugly. I don’t need social media to tell me I’m a success or a failure. It could all end tomorrow. So while I might not go out fighting, I want to go out without regrets.