Down. Stuck in a rut. Glum. Uninspired. Melancholy.
Hey, at least it’s not depression, right?
-I mean absolutely no offense to the actual depressed folks out there. Depression must be miserable. I feel for those folks. I’m aware of how debilitating it is and even how life-threatening it can be, and I’m sorry that anyone has to live with such a terrible disease. Fortunately, my issues aren’t so deep and rarely go beyond being uninterested, bored, and just generically sad. For me, it comes and goes in cycles for the most part. I’ll find something I’m interested in, get real into it and learn everything I can about it, consume it from as many different angles as possible, and use it up until I’m utterly bored of it. But it’s not the ‘things’ fault. It’s not that I’m bored with the ‘thing,’ it’s more like I’ve used up all of my ‘interest.’ It’s as if ‘interest’ is a finite thing that you can run out of and must wait for to replenish.
Take World War II for example. I am fascinated by WWII. Everything from the tactics and weapons used, to the motivations behind peoples’ actions, generals and infantry alike. But beyond basic stats and numbers, what captivates me most is the culture of the time and place, the anecdotes people have, and just the mindset of the entire World at the time. There’s never been anything like it since. So, when I get on my (bi)annual ‘WWII kick,’ I watch documentaries, read books both fiction and non-fiction, listen to the music of the time period, watch movies, listen to podcasts, and even play a multitude of video games which completely takes over my mindset. It almost puts me in another place altogether.
But sometimes I’ll get on a kick that isn’t that deep and engrossing. Sometimes it’s just a simple song. I may happen upon a song that just catches me at the right moment that will fill that void. Sometimes it’s a book or short story. I may come across a great story that will leave me thinking about it all day or a book that will consume some brain cycles for a few weeks. It’s not unlike swimming in an underwater cave, finding air pockets and consuming them to sustain you just long enough for you to find the next air pocket.
Something will trigger it… and it’s always different. And I can’t make it happen. But something will trigger it and a chain reaction will start. I’ll become interested and engaged in something, and I’ll be more aware which will spill over to other things which I wouldn’t normally be interested in and then boom… I’m happy and involved again. I don’t get it and I wish that I could control it but to this day, I haven’t found a way to reach critical mass and force the reaction to happen. It just has to happen on its own.
I really find enjoyment in writing and love when I can get my thoughts down on paper. My problem with writing is that I’m not very good at it and it takes a lot of work for me to get anything coherent, let alone worth reading. I have no less than four ideas right now I’ve started and have been wanting to work out and get written but just can’t find the motivation to do so. It’s not a mid-life crisis as much as it is day-to-day doldrums. I’m not sad necessarily, but I’m not happy or interested. I just can’t seem to get excited. And that’s what is so frustrating. It is such a magnificent world – universe – out there teeming with practically infinite things to explore, learn, and discover, that it’s frustrating when I can’t even be trivially entertained.
The unnerving part to me though is that these cycles, these highs and lows, have been getting shorter and shallower. My ‘kicks’ don’t last as long and aren’t as enriching as they used to be. Maybe I’m just getting old and jaded. I don’t mind getting old, but I don’t want to be jaded. I don’t want to feel that way and I don’t know how to stop it. Remember being a kid and laughing at something so hard (that you’d probably think is stupid today) that you couldn’t physically breathe? There was no better feeling in the world! And I cannot tell you the last time that has happened to me. I could count on one hand how many times that has happened to me in the last ten years – no exaggeration. Why is that? Is that just the way things are? Is that what happens when you get older? And if not, how do I change that?
Maybe since I’m continuing to revisit the same things over and over again, I simply need to find something completely new to become infatuated with. Problem is, I like what I like, you know? If there’s something out there that would interest me you’d think I would have found it by now. Maybe I just need to look harder. Or maybe that’s just the way things are. Maybe we we’re supposed to live day to day, moment by moment.
Maybe it’s a matter of concentration. I often have problems concentrating on things even when engaged with things I enjoy. It’s tough to stay focused and I know that has to have at least a small impact on my issue. I would love, just as an experiment, to try something like Adderall. I would love to see if being able to concentrate would make a difference one way or another. At least I would know and could determine how big of a contributing factor it is to help remedy the situation, or not. My memory is notoriously bad. Concentration has a huge impact on memory so I know it must make some difference there for sure. Sleeping better, eating healthy, and consistently being active has helped my memory and overall happiness, but it has seemed to reach a limit. I’m a huge supporter of modern medicine but also believe that medication should only be taken when absolutely needed – not because someone ‘wants’ it for some arbitrary reason. I’m stuck with a bit of a conundrum with this one.
I guess I just don’t have the answers right now and just need to take things ‘one step at a time,’ just like my dad would say. I hope I find that next air pocket soon… I’m starting to turn blue down here.