So I took Friday afternoon off and drove down to the city for the weekend and got back last night. It was just what I needed. I spent some time with two of my favorite people, my brother Rob and my future sister-in-law Lindsay. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Frankie’s, browsed books for awhile at The Strand, caught a performance of “Avenue Q,” and just spent some down time chatting over coffee and board games. Traffic wasn’t too bad, I was able to park on their block (not always the easiest place to get a spot) and though it rained most of the weekend our spirits were high. I even ran into friends I know on a subway platform in Manhattan, proving that it really is a small world.
I think everyone agrees that a vacation, even a brief one, is a good thing. I love my folks, but they’re back here for the holidays and living in the same house with them can sometimes make me feel like I’m nineteen again. They’re taking off back to their place down south after New Years and I’ll have the house to myself again for a few months before moving out in early summer to my own place, but this break was great. It seems like I’m browsing apartments and houses for rent more frequently when we’re under the same roof.
The truth is I know that both situations are temporary- both these next couple of weeks with them and me staying at the house. I needed the stability of not having to worry about rent, utilities, etc. in the aftermath of my suicide attempt. I needed to get to a point where I could manage my sobriety, get my finances squared and put in to practice the positive skills I’m developing as part of my therapy to control the anxiety and depression. But it’s getting closer to the point where I’m ready to move on to what’s next. There’s a song in “Avenue Q” called For Now that helped me think of my situation. If you haven’t seen the show it’s sort of “Rent” by way of “Sesame Street.” The song caps the show, with humans and puppets looking on the bright side of adult struggles like finances, relationships and job uncertainty.
Why does everything have to be so hard?
Maybe you’ll never find your purpose
Lots of people don’t
But then I don’t even know why I’m alive
Well, who does, really?
Everyone’s a little bit unsatisfied
Everyone goes ’round a little empty inside
Take a breath, look around
Swallow your pride for now
Nothing lasts, life goes on
Full of surprises
You’ll be faced with problems
Of all shapes and sizes
You’re going to have to make
A few compromises for now
In a way, it’s a great example of mindfulness in action. Keeping perspective on your problems and being able to take a deep breath and recognizing that they aren’t insurmountable is a real skill, and it comes to some people easier than others. Depression and anxiety create a fog where I really struggle to think that my current situation is it. Medication helps, but ultimately it takes developing ways to help slow down my anxious thoughts, take stock of my situation and consider my options and make thoughtful choices. Sometimes your choices involve compromises and that’s ok. It’s all temporary, or, rather, it’s all subject to change, and we all have a tremendous amount of control over whether the change is positive or not.
So whether it’s something positive like a vacation, some anxiety about your living situation, or feeling depressed, just remember, it’s only for now.