Coming back — from anything — is hard. This seems to be one of the universal truths in my own life. I know it’s true. I feel it, all the time. And yet, I absolutely don’t understand it. I don’t get it at all.
If I’m in a routine that makes me happy, doing things that make me happy, you would think I would do anything to stay in that routine. To remain in that sweet spot where everything seems perfect, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing chirpy songs all day long. You would think I would be so single-minded that I would stay on that path. Because it makes me happy. Because I managed to figure out what makes me feel fulfilled. I mean, it’s logical, right? Instinctively, somewhere deep inside on a gut level, it feels logical to me.
And yet, the other universal truth in my life seems to be this: It is so freaking easy to run right off the rails. Before I even know it, I’m out of my happy routine and into an unhealthy rut so deep I wonder if I’ll ever dig my way out again. The thing is, the rut isn’t necessarily a terrible place. Maybe, at first, it’s a little bit fun because it’s new and different. I mean, my previous routine made me happy, but it was still a routine. Same old, same old, every day. Boring. The rut quickly becomes comfortable or comforting, in a way. I don’t have to worry about trying things and failing, because, really, I’ve already fallen into the hole. I’ve already failed, in a way, so the worst has happened. I find myself procrastinating more and more, until, finally, I realize I’m just plain stuck. It’s insidious. It sneaks up on me, a little at a time. By the time I manage to look around and see what’s going on, I find myself in what feels like a hopeless position.
At one point, which seems like a million-gazillion years ago, I was hell-on-wheels with my writing. I wrote like a mad woman. I wrote in every spare moment that I could get. On the weekends, I would sometimes stay up all night writing because I was so involved with and excited about whatever project happened to be front and center at the time. This was after what had been a years-long dry spell in which I hadn’t written anything at all. It was exciting to rediscover my love for writing. It felt right and perfect, like I had managed to wade through a life that felt like wearing a pair of too-small shoes and find the thing I was supposed to be doing. I thought, surely, I would never let my writing get away from me again.
And yet, here I sit … years down the road after having my writing derailed by depression and anxiety … stuck in my rut. Very much wanting to crawl out and recapture the thrill and exhilaration and excitement I felt in those earlier days. Every day of every week, I tell myself, “Self, we are going to DO this thing! We are going to sit at the computer and write words. We are going to do it until it feels easy and fun once again. And then, we are going to be happy.”
Instead, I end up binge-watching a show on Netflix or doing laundry or puttering around with any number of other mundane tasks. It’s all procrastination. I know it is. It’s me, cozying up down in my rut. It’s my rut, growing deeper and steeper by the day. Is it even possible to climb back out again? I have to think this is true, but it feels heavy and hopeless at times.
Well, tomorrow is another day, right? It’s one more day when I can tell myself that we are going to sit in front of the computer and write words. One of these days, it’s going to be true. One of these days, I’m coming back.