I usually feel like slapping you in the face, but this past weekend left me feeling grateful that I had to keep the good vibes flowing into the new week. By 5PM on Friday, I was ready to lose it. I don’t hide emotion very well. When I’m crabby/happy/excited/angry, you know it. So I excused myself from being social and retreated to my house where ideally no one could get me. I didn’t want to look at my emails or Facebook or Instagram. I just wanted to be alone. My job requires me to be “on” for a good portion of the day on a weekly basis. On the weekends, I’m lucky if I have just an hour for quality couch time to catch up on my favorite shows. So when I fall into that routine of constantly being on the move, I need that time to decompress. This weekend was one of those times and even though I was busier than usual, the activities I had planned were exactly what I needed to fill my cup.
Friday night was relatively low key. Eating sushi with one of my good friends from high school allowed us to reconnect despite our insane schedules. For two hours, we laughed and talked and forgot what it meant to be “adult” for those couple of hours. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with family and the evening was dedicated to me and movies. If you haven’t seen Wish I Was Here with Zach Braff, you must check it out. I adored Garden State when it first came out, am still exploring the infinite abyss, and this movie was such an ode to Braff’s early career as an actor/writer/director. Plus, can I get an “AMEN” for that soundtrack? The Shins? Zero 7? Frou Frou?! I mean, how many of us Millennials remember the scene in the airport with “Let Go” playing in the background, thinking, “I get this scene…I totally get it.” It’s like we were all having an existential moment while watching that film. By Sunday, I was ready for 18 naps but there was simply no time for that! I was up and out of my house at 5:20 AM, headed to Grant Park for Chicago’s Hot Chocolate 15K. That’s a solid 9.3+ miles of pure running all over the damn city! I never ran in the colder weather until yesterday but being awake to watch the sun rise and physically able to run those almost-10 miles are both blessings we sometimes take for granted. When I first started running, I hated it and would stop after 2 miles. Now, this is my 6th race and 2nd big medal. For a depressive, running is euphoric. With each step on pavement, I released a negative thought as Icona Pop and A-Ha blared from my headphones. By the finish line, I was unstoppable even though my knees were quietly protesting with, “Please ice us.” And as I walked back to the train, I said, “I am ready for this day.” We ended the weekend on a high note with the marriage of my cousin and friend, a beautiful ceremony filled with dancing, family and laughing. I even forgot about my poor knees for a few hours as we all danced in a circle to Pharrell’s “Happy” per my mother’s insistence.
With achy knees but full heart, I fell asleep at 8:45 PM only to wake up on Monday morning completely ready for the week. I may have been busy this weekend but it was in a restorative way–filling my time with family, feeling accomplished after running a 15K race, reconnecting with some familiar friends. I had to embrace all of the awesome that happened over the last 3 days. But I also needed to embrace a bigger truth–not to get stuck in the “blah” moments that are easily dismissed with the help of my coping strategies. There are moments where it is so difficult to break the cycle of the mundane. Inevitably, I get caught up in that cycle all too often which consequently triggers my depression. I have to switch it up and when I do, I am quickly reminded how wonderful life is when you’re doing out of the ordinary things. Whether it’s reading a new book or painting my nails a vibrant shade of blue or attempting a handstand in my bedroom, breaking the monotony is one way to get happy and out of the funk we so often find ourselves in.
This week, I am challenging myself to accomplish some tasks I’ve put on the back burner. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe you’re thinking of running your first 5K. Maybe you’ve been dying to try out that new restaurant near your home. Or perhaps you want to learn another language. Whatever it is, set small goals in order to achieve the ultimate one. Break the ordinary cycle by believing in something extraordinary.