Yesterday was great. I stayed in a good mood all day, was productive at work and in my errands, and fended off the afternoon loneliness with little struggle. I’m quite impressed with how easily I fared the transition back to our normal routine. I think that trying to remain consciously aware of my typical strife was helpful because it kept me ahead of the curve so to speak, able to be proactive with managing my mood slips instead of reactive. This is one of the many ways that self-awareness is so beneficial for me.
This morning, we are amidst a winter storm that blew in overnight. I think they are predicting about a foot of snow here in Western Massachusetts and forecasting blizzard conditions in terms of wind speeds exceeding 40 mph. It will be an unpleasant couple of days filled with indoor activities and snow cleanup. A silver lining is that Ben’s office preemptively closed for the day, so he’s home. Even though my last five posts or so have been all about how much I loved having him home during break and missed him tremendously upon his return to work, I don’t normally feel overly enthusiastic when he has an unplanned day off, which sounds nonsensical because I actually love having him home, but like I wrote a few days ago, even when changes are favorable, they usually throw me in a funk. The fact that my routine alone is jumbled or altered upsets me. I have no idea why I’m the way I am. I think it’s so pathetically stupid. I guess one of the frustrations I feel is that it’s not a “snow day” for me. I still have my normal work obligations and schedule and while I love my job, I think I might feel like I’m missing out on fun when he’s around and not working. It’s sort of a tease; I see my best friend there, but I don’t get to engage in recreational activities with him. Instead, I need to keep my head down and focus on my job responsibilities. It’s not that I am jealous that he gets to “play” and I don’t, I’m frustrated that he’s around and technically free to do stuff with me, but I’m not available to do so. I spend so much of my time completely alone, so when I’m physically in his presence, I very much want to interact with him. As such, in nearly all cases in times past, I’d be cranky, because of frustration, that he was off today on a random, unplanned day where I had not budgeted for time off as well.
To be fair, I woke up feeling a little bit of that immature irritability. I got to work quite early this morning and started cranking away on my projects. In the back of my mind, I mulled over these undesirable thoughts and how they often affect my behavior, making me moody and cranky instead of the easygoing, pleasantly sweet self I strive to be. Like splashing cold water on my face, I immediately snapped myself out of this self-fulfilling negative spiral. There’s no one saying I need to be frustrated or grumbly that he’s around and I can’t spend quality time with him. I’m putting my own self in that position and inflicting this mood sourness upon myself. That realization helped catch my right at the top of the hill, as if in a roller coaster car chugging up the last few meters of the initial climb before the breaks let off and the car plummets down the first dive, never stopping in its course until the final platform is reached. This time, as the contemptible feelings started mounting and my coaster powered up the usually inevitable hill of doom, I stopped it. I reversed the car and made it quietly shift into reverse and return to the station. I’ve exhausted this metaphor, but essentially, I completely self-corrected the trajectory of my mood and sour mindset for today. I decided I should be thrilled with the bonus day of his company granted to us because of the blizzard. I recognized that I should be ecstatic to have him around, even if I’m working all day, and excited to watch him happily enjoying fun activities without any responsibilities. It truly brings me joy to see him happy and relaxed. I think this is one thing that happens when people deeply love one another. All I want is to see him smile, sense his calm and break from typical stress, and know that he’s having an enjoyable time. I can be fighting off a terrible illness or in tremendous pain, but it still remains a priority of mine to ensure he is happy and having fun. That’s a process that, for me at least, has come as I’ve matured. In my more selfish and juvenile mindset of years past, I secretly felt it was “unfair” if I was hurting so much or having some major issue and he was getting to do great stuff. Now, I’m ashamed to admit that was ever characteristic of my thought process, but I’m so far grown and matured beyond that that I can admit my regrettable faults and appreciate the much-needed growth of my heart and mind that I’ve achieved. His needs and desires have supplanted my own in terms of my priority and focus. Above all, I unequivocally want him to thrive and be fulfilled and happy. That’s real love, I think.
As the snowflakes swirl around in the rampant winds and start piling onto to roads and sidewalks today, I’ll be working hard on my assignments in the company of my trusted love. My heart will be full and my mind will be happy that we are gifted this day together and that he gets to relax and pursue his hobbies without the normal constraints of Thursday responsibilities. Winter storms are tough when you hate snow, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder on top of pervasive depressive disorder, and hate the cold, yet they do have their silver linings, the sparkles of frost crystals in the gleaming winter sun that follows: extra time to be with the ones you love. Today, I caught myself before I wasted any of this special gift with my usual routine-changing mood funk. In doing so, I’ve opened myself up to enjoy the riches of the day and will get to spare myself from unnecessary and unwelcome crankiness. No one wants to feel frustrated, bitter, or irritable. Even if I am the one responsible for putting myself in that negative headspace when encountering a change of plans, I don’t want to feel that way. I’m finally starting to realize that I have the power to control this. It seems to be a painfully slow, and embarrassingly delayed, process, but I’m starting, and it’s never too late to start.