This blog is not a diary.
But I feel the need to let you know I am in a rough patch.
The Internet may not be the best forum in which to share this rough patch, but it is the forum I have chosen. I have to write loudly. I have to write about the rough patch. And I have to tell you that I’m getting through it on my own, too.
See, I am here in D.C. on my own for the summer. I am very fortunate to have two jobs, one of which is at a magazine. Someone is paying me to write and it is the greatest feeling in the world. Each month, I get to see hundreds of my carefully constructed words on the glossy paper of a magazine with a fine print byline at the top. And then I get to buy groceries, or Starbucks, or books and think, “I earned this doing what I love.” That’s pretty cool, and I am very fortunate and very grateful.
But I am starting to fall, despite this great opportunity in my favorite city, because although I am doing what I love, I am not loving what I do. Enter the rough patch. Cue the life adjustment.
I have made mistakes and I have felt alone and I have cried, and now I am trying to rectify these things, for my own sake. Some days I think, “If I spontaneously combusted in this instant, that would be fine,” and some days I think, “I’m really starting to get it together, and today will be one for adventures.” I am trying to overcome the rough patch, and that starts with finding happiness. I need to be happy in the present. I need to stop waiting for happiness to find me. I need to understand that I will not stumble upon it, and it will not be bestowed upon me, and it will not come in the form of another human or another job. I need to seek happiness.
So I have come up with a list of goals in the hope that some productivity and a sense of personal accomplishment will help me overcome the rough patch. Here it is.
The Great Big List of Things to do This Summer:
1. Read deeply and widely. Read magazines, read a career book, read the words of people I disagree with. Also read fiction — I’ve already done plenty of that this summer.
2. Buy a bike. Ride it everywhere. I am in desperate need of wheels.
3. Try something new every weekend. A farmers market. A park. A neighborhood walk. A museum. This city is pretty amazing.
4. Make a routine. Do not waste non-working time.
5. Write. Continue to journal every day, without using that forum to compare myself to others. Publish at least two blog posts every month. Seek new writing opportunities.
6. Start an Interesting Stuff list, inspired by The Opposite of Loneliness (more on this fabulous book later).
7. Recognize that bad days will come. Greet them with Netflix, a pen and a renewed sense of “I can do this.”
8. Go indoor rock climbing. That just sounds really fun. Fun is necessary.
9. Learn to cook. This one is a long shot, but with 30+ days and much more time than I know what to do with, I expect myself to move beyond my standard dinner of pasta and a side dish of berries.
10. Do scary things. This one is vague, but I’m already living it in many ways. This summer is scary. The idea of being here on my own is scary. But my options are limited — I can either do the scary thing, embrace the unknowable, face the bad days, and surmount the rough patch, or I can quit. Today I prefer the former, and I am trying, every single day, to convince myself that the former is better. It will be better.
Yes, Internet, I am in a rough patch. It is one of loneliness and fear and uncertainty, but it is also one of hope and opportunities and potential for growth. That is worth it.
And in the wise words of the perpetually fabulous Princess Diaries movie, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”