Perhaps it was the ease with which I rolled out bed this morning. Or maybe it was that quiet pleasure I felt as I walked through my lovely apartment, watching the grey morning light slowly filter in. It sounds excessively poetic, but the stillness I found in the mindful appreciation of the “mundane” was an unprecedented experience for me.
By all accounts, I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Last night, I stayed up until midnight working on a writing assignment (after hiking for a few hours in the Adirondack mountains then sitting in a car for 6 hours). I didn’t sleep particularly well, and I have historically detested mornings. But over the past few days, I’ve been letting go of tension I didn’t even know I was holding. As a result, mornings and I are going to couples therapy and reconciling our differences.
I’ve often read that working out improves your mental health. But truthfully, it’s one thing to know it, and another thing to know it. When I came home from my trip to New York, I was happy. I wasn’t thinking about how I wished my life could be better, or criticizing the way things are now. Instead, I was able to simply exist in the moment, look around, and feel contented.
I think a lot of it has to do with time. I don’t have the luxury of wasting my time anymore; I am so busy with work and exercise that I don’t spend as much time on Facebook, or attending gatherings. Nowadays, when I’m social, it’s usually one on one or in small groups. My commitment to spending time improving my health and my life has had a liberating effect on my state of mind, and prolonged exercise sessions are disciplining my thoughts and helping me to control my emotional reactions.
Over the past two years, I’ve usually hung out with my friends through events posted on Facebook; someone would organize a bike trip, potluck, or a picnic, invite 30 people, and I’d go. The art of calling up one or two close friends and going to a pub or event was lost, and every activity was always en masse. In short, it was fun, but in a high school kind of way, and I experienced the highs of being invited to the most exciting parties, and the sense of rejection after seeing photos appear on Facebook for an event that I didn’t even know had happened.
Recently, the quantity of time that I spend with friends has decreased, but the time I do have is spent with people who I’m close with. Instead of fussing over parties and social events, I’m exercising more, eating healthier, and finding comfort in the quiet.
Going forward, I’m going to put effort into remaining off of Facebook, and making time to meet up with friends the old fashioned way … by calling or messaging them directly.
I’m gradually allowing myself to feel joy in the present moment. I’m getting a lot of projects done, am in the best shape of my life, and am still taking time to smell the roses. I still have a lot of work to do with developing the friendships that I think have potential, but I’m so grateful for everything in my life right now.
Although my mind is still easily distracted and prone to emotional moodswings, especially where my friendships are involved, I’m making progress, and that’s worth a pat on the back.