Today is one of those Sundays when I cant think of anything to write about. It happens every now and then, and normally, when it happens, I start to panic and I assume that having nothing to write about must mean Im an over the hill and irrelevant widow with nothing more to say, and that I should step aside and let the younger more relevant voices be heard.
But today, instead of letting that voice try and tell me what to do, I will share with all of you that Ive been struggling a lot lately with some depression I guess, or thoughts of feeling irrelevant, and some deep sadness surrounding the dreams I never got to see through all those years ago in NYC, and lots of “what if I had stayed?” type thoughts, and lots of questions that don’t ever have answers, but only bring up more frustrating and endless questions. Since having to make the excruciatingly hard decision to leave my life in NYC just over 5 years ago now, several things have taken place there (especially lately) that, if I was still living there, I would have most likely have been included in those things. Possible TV roles , comedy gigs, big auditions and/or opportunities, just so many things. With that sort of stuff, its out of sight/out of mind, and so I usually end up reading about the really cool thing that just went down on Facebook, and then I feel so left out, and I get incredibly sad.
At the exact same time, I am happy in my current life and my marriage and our house that we bought just over a year ago now, and Im always so thankful to have found great love twice in my life – so it feels hard to explain how I can be very happy because of all of that, and still feel extreme sadness at the things that never were. Or the things that maybe could have been. The things I am watching from the sidelines but not a part of. The things I will never know.
Being 50 years old was a year of reflectiveness and deep thoughts.
Turning 51 last week, I felt “off” the entire day on my birthday. It was a workday, so I didnt do anything special, and as soon as I walked in the door after work to our house, I felt deflated, exhausted, and very sad. I dont even know why really, but I couldn’t shake it. I had this overall feeling of being washed up, forgotten, over the hill, no longer attractive or relevant, and old. We had done a low-key celebration the day before with immediate family, and thats what I had wanted, and it was nice. But ON my birthday, I was just filled with extreme sadness and this weird feeling that I had crossed over some imaginary line where I was no longer young and now considered old and on my way out. Going through menopause (which I have been, no period now for at least 6 months) just made this feeling strengthen in its focus. I kept thinking to myself: “What if this is it? What if its all downhill from here? Im just going to keep losing people I love, they will keep dying, and what if I get sick as I get older? Who is going to take care of me? What if all my people are gone and I have nobody to make sure Im okay and end up in a safe place? Am I just going to work forever and always be struggling? I see no retirement in my future. ” On and on my thoughts went, like a rolling avalanche that couldnt be stopped. Before I knew it, I was lying in bed, on my birthday, crying and feeling unloved. My husband being there helped. He asked if he could do anything, and I told him to please just hold me for awhile.
But in the end, I just needed to feel that sadness and let it pass through me. And its still there, lingering. But I know that it will eventually shift into something else, and I will be okay. In those moments, though, it doesnt matter whether you are actually alone or not, because you FEEL alone. It doesnt matter if you have a loving family and lots of friends who care about you, Because if you FEEL unloved, that feeling is hard to shake and its coming from a depressed place inside. Often, it has nothing to do with reality, or the reality is not as awful as what is living inside your head. This is why the simplest of things can help to bring you out of that, little by little: stepping outside to some fresh air, pressing your cheek against a soft and purring kitty, letting the water wash over you in the shower and take all your problems away. Little by little, these things can help to bring you out of that hopeless feeling, and back into a world where possibilities exist, and where life feels stronger than death, and love once again feels bigger than fear.
Im getting there, and some days are tougher than others.