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March 23, 2010

The mid-March slump

All those statistics about New Year's Resolutions say that people begin to waver in their resolve by the first few weeks of February. I tend to last a little longer out of pure stubbornness and determination but by Mid-March I usually find myself here, slumping, wondering how bad it would be really to just give up and be fat and grumpy for the rest of my life. Not so bad, surely?

I'm certainly not in the depressive maudlin funk of a few years ago, a funk I told no one about (except the poor recipients of my late night phone calls, Jen and Lark) because in general no one wants to hear about your funk-related garbage. I discovered the hard way during my divorce that folks have this Pavlovian response to whining, in which they 1) tell you it could be worse thereby invalidating your feelings and making you want to eat their head off or 2) tell you to buck up little camper, which makes you immediately feel the need to defend your unhappiness and also hit them in the head with your handbag. And by "you" I mean "me." So I try to keep a lid on it most of the time. It never solves anything anyway.

Life is just like that though, ups and downs. Or at least mine is. I don't trust these people who seem to stay on a perpetual cheer bender all the time, never getting frustrated or upset or having any emotion other than chipperness. It seems plastic and suspicious, like the fixed smile of a Cabbage Patch kid. I'm more volcanic, with my exuberant good moments and dramatic hissyfits. I love that about Southern women in general, there's a kind of emotional navigation of life that's expressive and full of gestures.

When I get like this I try to find things I like and load up on them: potatoes, in any format. Carla Bruni CDs. Yarn. Funny conversations with my friends. Good movies. Cats-- this morning Bob even sat on my lap for a whole 60 seconds, a world record. Coffee with cream. Life is too short to give up the cream in my coffee! Just listing things out like this makes me lighten up a little bit. The sheer force of listing in itself is a good-feeling activity.

I also need to clean my apartment top to bottom, a much-needed and much-overdue activity. As the Dalai Lama says, the first step toward meditation is to clean your room. I've been working long hours on multiple projects and my house has become a pit of tumbleweeds and piles of unopened mail and socks in weird places. When my space is messy I feel messy inside. Do you ever get like that?

There's no action item, slumps are like that. The best you can do (I think) is to focus on a few things that are pleasant and just ignore the other stuff. Or of course you can go whole hog and really get into the funk but I am saving that for my ladycrisis which I plan to have in a few years. I can't wait! It will be so fun. I may even do the one thing everyone has always warned me about -- dye my hair a shade of red that does not occur in nature. So for now there is no need to pull a full Blanche Dubois. I'm just going to make some lists and then clean my house.

Posted by laurie at March 23, 2010 10:47 AM