Last night, a Saturday, was one of the rough ones. I have written before about the fact that Saturdays/weekends are much harder for me than the rest of the week, in part no different than a lot of people who are alone on the weekend. There is an inherent loneliness for those who are uncoupled with no family still at home when you once spent the weekend with someone you loved. I still miss her terribly but she is not likely to reappear after nearly 9 years. So I find myself sinking, but I fought hard to hang on, and while journalling, doing collage, drawing, reading, and, listening to a podcast, something brought me up short. I don’t have the quote because it went by too fast but the gist of it was that the way to be happy was to always have something to look forward to. It needn’t be a big thing, it could be quite small, but without something to look forward to it is hard to get up each day and make it through, and when you have a basketful of mental health issues, it makes it all the harder. Will it all be one uphill battle until the end? No, I simply won’t allow it. But what shocked me, because I didn’t even realize it, was that in answer to the question, “What do you have to look forward to?” I wrote… “Nothing.”
I wouldn’t have believed this to be true because I have many people and things that I dearly love but that is not the same thing as personally, just for me, having something to look forward to. It leaves a deep chasm at the center of your being, one that feels that it can never be filled with that kind of joy that comes from that state of expectancy when you feel giddy with excitement like a teenage girl even though you are in your 50’s when the phone rings and you say hello and the other person says, “Hey,” and you melt all over the floor like a marshmallow over a campfire. That one word would undo me and make me swoon. Oh, how I miss it. But there are other things, so many things that I looked forward to and I can see the exact date that it all ended. February 5, 2014, the night Dragonfly Cottage burned down, the nine months while the rebuilding was taking place I struggled just to hold on, and by the end the money that I had had just about completely ran out leading me to apply for disability. I have now been denied for the 3rd and final time. I don’t know what is going to happen and I get so scared. But… it’s more than that.
I had started a business the month before the fire. I had worked with an amazing mentor and other teachers, I had planned my business out very carefully, and I had used most of my resources to launch the business. One month in the house burned down and the business along with it, and there was nothing left but to hold on and pray for a miracle. And I have, and somehow I still believe it will come, but my way of thinking says that a miracle requires a lot of hard work to get it here. I mean you just can’t sit back and do nothing and wait for a golden egg to fall out of the sky.
I have written that I am starting to write a book a whole new way, and I really am working on it, and I sat with myself last night when I ached so much inside I felt like the earth was going to open up and I was going to be swallowed up whole. I could feel the weight of the depression pulling me down, down, down, but somehow, by the grace of God, a rope dropped down just barely within my reach and I grabbed it and held on. By God I will not go down, I will lift myself up, that is my job, and I will turn myself around. And then I looked down in my lap at the notebook I am filling fast for the new book and I said, “Yes, that’s it. I am going to finish this book and publish this book and THAT’S what I have to hold on to, to look forward to.” And knowing that my salvation was in my own hands, that I could sink like a stone every weekend and struggle with the days in between or I could commit to this project, this book, and see it through to the end, that is what I have to look forward to.
I can’t even express what it felt like, a sudden realization, a shock, a self-created gift to myself that would save my life. I am going to see this book to the end come hell or high water and every single day I will get up knowing that I have something fantastic to look forward to. A book written in my own time and my own way, the kind of commitment to a project that makes you sit there smiling for no reason at all, the satisfaction at the end of the day over pages written, and looking forward to the next day’s writing. And for me it is this book, for you it might be anything at all, but find something that makes you smile when you think about it, as I will get up each morning and say, “I GET TO WORK ON MY BOOK TODAY!” (It makes me smile all giddy-like just to say that!)
I think that I, like many people, have been waiting for something wonderful to happen all on its own, to just rain down upon me like manna from heaven, but if we don’t get up and DO the thing, how can we start all the magic in motion, how will the universe hear us if we are not down here making joyful noise over this wonderful thing that we look forward to. I am doing this, my way, and gee willy wonka it feels good.
What do you have to look forward to? Ask yourself this question. You may be surprised by the answer. You may have something wonderful right in front of you and you are not giving it the credit it deserves, or you may need to stir the pot and get something going, but by gosh and by golly make sure you are on the Happiness Track. It is pure gold, it is where the goose lays the golden egg and it rolls right into our life and sets off sparks but you have to be there on the track revving your engine and setting forth toward that marvelous thing that beckons to you.
Now I know what I have to look forward to, I know it was my responsibility to get it going, and I will revel in the time ahead while I write this book and create and then live my dreams. Anyone else want to jump on the track come right on with me. It’s the only way to travel.