last year, i turned 25. 25 also happens to be my lucky number. so unlike most people my age, i was not afraid of the dreaded, quarter-life crisis. i was excited because the number 25 has done nothing in my life but bring me good fortune, and wonderful memories. well, despite having an amazing birthday weekend (ummm winning free, lower level tickets to see the Detroit Tigers play the San Francisco Giants in game 3 of the World Series at Comerica Park!!) 25 actually was pretty shitty to me for the first time in my life.
Not that my life is/was shitty. In fact, I have a great life. In the day, I’m an assistant account executive at a leading business-to-business public relations agency in a super cute little town in metro Detroit. I work on seven client accounts, and manage the firm’s social media activities. By night, I practice yoga at an amazing studio that has a cult-like following and an array of teachers that have made me laugh, cry, and cringe every day I’ve practiced, and the best times, all in the same class. I have a strong support group and beautiful friends spattered around the state and down the street. I go to concerts, I drink, I dance, I smile and I write. It’s a life I can’t complain about.
But, for some reason, despite my safe and secure, good-on-paper, day-in and day-out life, I was depressed. I was depressed and I didn’t know it for six months. It took me a month after I realized it to tell my best friend. And it took me three more months after that to find someone to help me. I literally spent the year of 25 in a deep, dark hole and had no clue why I felt this way or even what was happening.
I was taking a shower when I realized the symptoms I had always heard about, were happening to me. I fell to my knees and buried my face in my hands; and as the water washed over me, and rained down my hair and over my back, my heavy tears were lost among the other droplets, swirling the drain. I cried long and hard. And when I picked myself off of the bottom of the dirty, white fiberglass, and stepped over the side of my clawfoot tub, I decided to change it.
I decided to make a list. A list of things I could do each day that would bring me happiness. I envisioned what my perfect day would look like if I could only do things that made me happy and what those would be. That if I died in my sleep, I would have been satisfied with how I spent my time that day and it would’ve been just for me. This list is small, but it is made up of four points, four things I need in my life to make me happy.
- writing and creativity
When I made this list, it was my life preserver. It kept me off the floor of my bathtub, and gave me baby steps to get away from the clouds and the dark. I didn’t do all of them everyday, and some days I was too busy to do any. But I knew that if and when I did them, that I had an hour or two to get lost in what I was doing, and to forget about the feelings of loneliness and insecurity. It was just an hour or two of sheer, uninterrupted bliss.
Each one is a love affair I started long ago. Whether I was 4 years old and singing to Elvis with my dad in the car. Or I was 9 and learned how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Or I was 16 and writing for the school paper. Or I was 20 and bought my very first purple yoga mat. And it’s a love affair I intend to continue until the day that my last breath passes over my thin, pink lips. Because these four, simple points, over time, changed the entire course of my life. And set the foundation to lasting happiness.
So that’s what I will tell you about. How this little list has shaped my life and how it continues to steer me in new directions.
One of those directions is across the Atlantic Ocean.