Missing the grey
I have been feeling off lately, though it has taken me a while to register this because on a small scale it just looked like a bad mood – unsettled, quick to anger, sad. I kept blaming it on sleep deprivation, then PMS, then on having a cold. But I have run out of excuses while the cloud remains. After a while, it’s not a bad mood anymore – it’s a bad state of mind.
I have always disliked clutter, but lately controlling it has become an obsession. Suddenly all the quirks and annoyances of our small space feel unbearable even though we’ve already lived with them relatively contentedly for two years. The pile of crap that unfailingly grows in the downstairs entryway no matter how many times we tackle it now feels more meaningful than just some temporary clutter waiting to find a home; it feels like a judgement on the management of our lives. For the past few weeks I have been in a rampage of clearing out old things and re-arranging the remaining things into order but it never seems enough. It never gives me the satisfaction I’m hoping to find.
John and I work as a couple because he is the relaxed to my temperamental, the laid-back to my anxiety. So I try to be patient when he procrastinates on the housework and when it feels like I will always have to be the one to take the initiative to see things done. But lately it too feels so much bigger, like I am supposed to be the sole architect of our lives. This is not a role John ever assigned me, nor is it the reality, but it is a heady responsibility to carry even in my imagination. So when the laundry gets left in the washer once again, I rant and I rage in retaliation.
I have always tended to be a bit sensitive when it comes to perceived slights by others (of course always keeping it to myself like a good stoic Finn should), but lately I feel like I’m not able to handle these feelings rationally like I usually would. If someone cancels plans or doesn’t reply to an email, instead of just letting it roll off my back I feel the need to put up an emotional fence. Show them I don’t care, it’s fine, I’m too busy to answer you too. But my attempts at emotional distance are just leaving me feeling sad and dejected.
I have had a couple of bouts of mild depression in my life. Fortunately they have been relatively short, self-limiting and not debilitating, but enough for me to catch a glimpse of that world. That’s not where I am now, at least I don’t think so. I’m not sure where I am, but in this world it’s not that everything is grey and bleak – it’s that everything is so black and white. Right or wrong. Good or bad. I’m missing the shades of grey where most of real life resides.
Any armchair psychiatrist might be quick to point to the fact that I am turning 30 in ten days, but I really do think I am all right with this milestone. I suspect this has less to do with changes and more to do with how stagnant my life feels at the moment. I’m not striving for any new goal, nor do I really have the ambition to, but the guilt of feeling like I should still follows me. I feel like I am wasting my time because I’m not striving for a promotion at work, because I don’t have a hobby I’m passionate about, because I have no idea what the next step in my career is, because I like to stay home and cozy up on the couch after dinner instead of keeping busy, because my idea of a perfect weekend night is sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with my husband instead of going out to experience something new together.
All things I could work on fixing if only I could distinguish between what I actually want and what I think I should want, between laziness and contentedness.