Hello? Is there anybody out there?? *creeps out from cave*
Ok, I couldn’t resist a dramatic opening like that seeing as I LITERALLY feel like I’m one of those characters in a film who’s been living in a cave on a mountain or on a hidden beach somewhere, away from civilisation, and has no idea what time or even what year it is and has finally made the decision to make contact with the outside world again and get on top of their life (and appearance). Ok, so that may have been a tad extreme, (and I do have a hair cut booked soon fyi), but in all honesty it’s not too far from how I feel. Because both me and this seemingly fictional character I have just made up, which, thinking about it, don’t actually think is from any film (maybe it was a dream?) have one thing in common. We’ve neglected stuff.
Just like this person – let’s call them Clarence – Clarence in this cave and I, have neglected – well, everything pretty much (but let’s go with the parallels of Clarence’s existence and this little blog of mine here). We got to a point where we’d neglected the world – or, in my case, a passion, for so long, that the gardens of time overgrew (much like Clarence’s beard I would imagine), so much so that we thought that it was going to be more and more pointless to go back to, so we just didn’t. Until now.
Turns out, unlike an aloe Vera plant (seriously, no water and two baby shoots have turned into an attack of the triphids in a matter of weeks), a blog IS something that needs maintaining. It’s a bit like making a stand for something, wanting a change and then just putting it to one side and never actually doing it. Apart from anything, as well as the whole thing being completely unproductive, you also look like a bit of a fool. ‘Oh hey, remember me when I said I was going to share my mental health journey? I know I only blog once in a blue moon anyway and this time I haven’t properly in a year but I’m back again’. Seriously. I’ve thought ‘How can I go back to something and expect people to carry on reading when I have given up on it myself?’ I’ve thought sometimes about what IS actually stopping me from opening up my laptop, and just writing something. Something relatable. It’s not like I’m out of ideas (at least, if the notes on my phone are anything to go by). So what is it? Laziness? Procrastination? Lack of motivation? The whole ‘what is even the point anyway’? Now as well as the last couple being classic symptoms of the ol’ depression, I’ve come to realise that this is pretty normal when faced with something you feel passionate about maintaining.
Just like a job, a social life, your skin’s PH balance, your cat’s worming treatment, your interest free periods on credit cards, a healthy diet, a positive bank balance – it all takes work, and it all takes time. And because time unfortunately is not infinite (well, in that hours go by to a point where the day ends), it’s actually really hard to maintain everything, all at the same time. Especially when things don’t go as they expect. You have new things to sort out and yes- maintain, and it all kinda gets a bit hectic and before you know it, things are slipping and you feel like all you’re getting on top of is a giant rock you fancied standing on when taking a nature walk the other day.
Thing is, whatever the reasons, we do slip up. We’re human. We do forget to pay that credit card bill that we forgot to set up a direct debit for, and we do miss that deadline for that job application we forgot to bookmark, and we do accidentally forget our nephew’s birthday, or our cat’s follow up check up at the vets. More than that, we’re so preoccupied doing the vital maintenance tasks, that we forget the background ones. You know, that ‘been meaning to do that’ stuff that you just never get around to doing but actually really kinda care about? I don’t know, like sorting out the linen cupboard or backing up your photos on your phone to some overpriced cloud product or colour-coding your wardrobe, or cleaning out the goldfish bowl (Do people still have gold fish?) – you get the idea. Whatever it is, you’ve neglected it and it’s making you feel like poo. You’ve neglected the idea of it, the responsibility of it, the thought of doing it, needless to say – you’re not doing it. More specifically, you’re not maintaining it. It’s not something you do that once it’s done that’s it, it requires constant maintenance, like your eyebrows (or the above examples). You have to do it again and again.
I know I’m rambling (I’m out of practice, okay?!) but I think what I’m trying to say is this: Sometimes life gets hard, and it becomes harder to keep afloat with all this maintenance lark. Sometimes life throws lots of things at you all at once, and you find yourself in situations you could only ever imagine in your wildest nightmares. Sometimes you let your emotions get the better of you and don’t react in the way that is going to benefit you (or anyone) in the long run. You’ll lose people. You’ll gain some, only to find that you lose them after a while as well. Sometimes life does make you question your priorities and your purpose (who doesn’t like a good existential crisis?), and after turning on the news sometimes, who wouldn’t want to give up and go live in a cave like Clarence? But this is what I’m learning: The only thing that’s stopping you from doing all this upkeep, isn’t the world, or a certain situation, it’s your perspective on it -them. And yes, it could also be that you’re teetering under the waves of depression, and your anxiety is making you put things off, but all the more reason to fight, right?
So before you start questioning your sanity (or after, in my case), and start thinking about giving up completely on something you feel passionate about, change your perspective. Go try a meditation shower, or go for a walk or a drive. Stop letting go (unless it’s the past), and take back control, because it’s likely the very thing that is going to give you a purpose again, or at least make you feel on top of things, is the thing you’re putting off the most – making it all the more important to do.
Also, if it does feel like some monumentous daunting task, it’s ok to be scared. Scared you’ll feel a fool, or scared that it’ll be hard or take too much time or won’t make any difference anyway. Remember that cheese ball quote from Cinderella Story – ‘don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game’? Yeah, that. Acknowledge the fear and all these other negative feelings and let them leave. Go back to your place in the game (it doesn’t have to be baseball), because everyone’s waiting at the table and contrary to what you might think, you’re not on ‘miss a turn’.
It’s the start of week 2 of 2018, and if you’re going to have ANY resolutions this year – realistic ones – maybe get started on those background maintenance tasks. Because if anything’s going to make you feel on top of your life right now (or bring you out of a cave), it’s a fricking maintenance task. Do it, trust me. Let’s get this ball rolling again (or dice), because let’s face it, we all know we can.
Don’t be a Clarence.
P.S. Hi I’m back