Friday, May 9, 2014

Break in the Clouds

I was going to write a moody blog post about all the stresses in my life - money, wedding, new job, work/life balance, friendships hitting rough patches or maybe going off the roads entirely - but you know what?

I don't want to.

I'm going to take a deep breath and look at the trees, which are finally in that amazing stage of budding where the air around them looks like green mist. I'm going to hop on my bike and ride to the west end of the city, where I'm going to eat some sort of fudgey brownie and drink an upscale lemonade. I'm going to do a workout, and feel the movement of the muscles under my skin and feel sweaty and irritable; then I'm going to flex naked in front of a mirror and marvel at the work that I've put into my body and how it's paid off.

I've spent so much of life being anxious. Anxious about money, about men, about the health and welfare of family members, about my employment status, about whether or not my new shoes give me cankles. Sometimes, I'm anxious that anxiety is the only emotion I can really feel. It comes so naturally, in so many situations. I worry. Constantly. It is exhausting and leaves my soul and my brain feeling like they've been an Easy-Bake Oven all day long.

And then beams of joy break through the clouds, and they save me.

I get a text from a friend who's just had a baby, and despite how tired she is, she still gets excited when I tell her about wedding plans. I decide to walk my bike up a particularly gnarly hill, and instead of feeling like a loser, I choose to notice that my heart rate is still up and I still get to work on time. Mike and I make an elaborate meal, just for kicks, and then we eat it on the couch watching Game of Thrones in our underwear. (He saves me more than anyone else: relentlessly upbeat, and so full of love for me and his life.) Spring, finally, is arriving, and its bringing little flowers and buds and robins and green grass with it.

And while there are lots of big-ticket life things happening right now, including getting married and starting a new job, I think that's a good reason to double-down on finding joy.

It's amazing how much happier I was when I wasn't working full-time. Sure, I would occasionally have hysterical crying fits about my bank account, and I had a tendency to release a strangled yelp when people asked me what I did at cocktail parties. On the other hand, I saw my friends more, I was outside more, I was more physically active. That's a recipe for feeling pretty good most of the time.

Now, I have to pay careful attention to my joy-moments, because they are fewer and more fleeting. But they're still there. A new magazine in the mail. A quick coffee with a friend. Sleeping in with my beloved, and waking up slow in a still-dark room together. A fudgey brownie and a bike ride. A break, however fleeting, in the clouds.

Image via The Good Vibe.