Take back your life one thing at a time
It is T-17 days until I turn 40, and I am surprised at how that base 10 number is affecting me. It is not that I feel old, it is more that I am looking back on my life to this point and wondering what (if anything) I have done with it.
I would never say that I have wasted my life, but the last several years have been empty and devoid of meaning and purpose. I lost myself. This isn't a midlife crisis or anything of the sort. A couple years ago I fell into the deepest depression I have ever experienced. Through it, I disconnected from everything and everyone I ever loved. I lost almost all of my friends, and I don't blame them. I was not a good person to be around.
Nothing made me laugh. Everything made me cry. I couldn't feel anything at all. I didn't/couldn't care about any aspect of my or anyone else's life. It is hard for me to explain to someone who hasn't gone there what a black hole my life was. I hope no one reading this has ever been in a place like that. It was a vacuous pain no one ever needs to feel.
Since I came back, it has been really hard for me to reconnect to my life. Everything seems distant. Those connections didn't magically reform, and I don't expect them to. I have to do the work, and that is what this series is about.
11 Years ago was my first Book Launch Party...
My first and only Book Launch Party was 11 years ago today... When I think about it, it was my only book launch party. Liquid Sky, my first novel had just come out. You can see how happy I am in the picture.
If the depression I just talked about was the lowest I have ever felt, this was probably the best. After years of writing, the fourth book I had written was right there in print for anyone to read. Even now, when I think about it, I can't help but smile.
I don't know why I didn't celebrate the release of any of my other books. In fact, I hadn't realized that I hadn't until I started writing this. That is something that has to change.
8 years after this, we bought the Wine Rack... Everything should have been great, but by January the next year I tweeted:
How can I relight the spark of wonder that use to glow so bright? Fill my life with all the things and people I love, and ignite the passion
— Charlie Dorsett (@cedorsett) January 7, 2014
By July, I had completely fallen off the cliff. It's not like everything was all good before that. All this had built up for years, and the collapse took years away from me.
Stopping Everything Stops Everything
Leading up to this depression, I had stopped podcasting, because I didn't enjoy doing it by myself. I stopped blogging because I couldn't see the point of it. I stopped writing because the stories weren't perfect. I stopped going out because it felt pointless. I stopped everything then everything stopped.
I am not saying my depression was my fault. Depression isn't something that can be blamed on its victim. What I am saying is that the problems mounted one on another until I was buried so deep I couldn't breathe. I didn't see it coming. I couldn't see it from the inside.
Now that I am on the other side, putting my life back together has been more of a challenge than I want it to be. Not like life cares. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
Starting One thing at a time.
To get my life back, I realize that I am going to have to start up one thing at a time.
For me that means I have to start with my first love, writing.
I love to tell stories. I don't care if they are books, short stories, podcasts, or prose poems. I just love to tell stories. Even in my darkest moments, I tried to write, but I allowed the perfect to be the enemy of the good. I wrote nothing because the stories weren't the greatest thing ever. How stupid is that?!
My stories are my stories. They are my heart. Whether or not anyone likes them other than me, they are my stories. I don't have to care what anyone else thinks about them. All that matters is that I like them.
That is where I have to start. You might have a different starting point, and you probably will, but each and every one of us has something in our lives that gives us a sense of purpose or meaning. I have to write something, anything every day until that connection comes back strong in my life.
Every day, leading up to my 40th birthday, I am going to find one thing to celebrate or reconnect to. I hope you join me on my journey. I am taking my life back, and I urge you to do the same.
Please share your journey with me. Let's walk this road together.