This fall was rough and dark. I’m not in that dark place any more. Thank God! I don’t have to desperately repeat mantras to myself. I breath a lot. I am no longer falling, but the truth is, I’m not quite back to life yet either. I smile a lot and I feel so happy to be in this place, this city, this almost new act in my life story.
But I’ve also been hermitting and I’ve wondered why I have been quick to ignore texts and phone calls and stay curled up in bed with Cooper and a book or Netflix or one of the many online courses I am taking in preparation for my next act. I felt guilty that I didn’t want to go to parties or meet friends at bars to watch football games. I usually love those things.
I’ve seen a few friends, but mostly in small, quiet ways. I go out and run errands. I go for long walks with Cooper. I sit on patios at favorite haunts with iced teas and I soak in the sunshine. But even on these patios, I’m still hermitting. I wondered, Am still depressed? I don’t feel depressed.
So I reflected a lot on my last act and tried to take stock of things. 5 1/2 years ago my story made a drastic turn. I changed my entire set and added a whole new cast of characters, Texan characters! It was the act where I finished being in my twenties (and oh, I did it them so well) and started being in my thirties (which wasn’t nearly as wild as finishing my twenties). It was the act with a plot line that read, Girl moves to big city in search of adventure and teaching job.
My next act will read differently. Girl moves back to big city to pursue adventure (always) and life in the 9-5 office world. Or something like that. I am very in my thirties now, so my adventures will involve fewer late nights and booze (because hangovers, man). My friends are all married and having kids. Maybe in this act I’ll become one of those married with kids people. Whatever happens, I am going to learn so much! I have an exciting new career. I am going to spend my work days with other grown ups! I even got a big girl apartment.
But what about this middle part? This hermitting part? This I don’t think I’m still depressed but maybe not quite out of it yet part? What about this part in between those acts? I’m not in the teaching act any more, but I haven’t joined the cast of The Office yet either. I’ve felt better, but not back to myself.
It occurred to me that these past few weeks have been an intermission. I’ve struggled with what to call this weirdo, short phase of life, and intermission seems the most fitting, especially if I’m going to stick with the Life is a Play metaphor. My last act ended, but the next one hasn’t quite started yet and sometimes life is kind enough to grant us a break in between.
I have let myself enjoy this intermission. I needed a break. Doing the work I needed to do to get to this place, this almost totally recovered place, was hard. The end of my last act was one of those emotionally overwhelming numbers. I needed to pause, stretch my legs, recover, reflect and get excited for what comes next, because I am really excited. I realized that it’s okay that I was quick to ignore texts and phone calls because I am not still depressed, but I didn’t snap immediately out of it either. That’s not really how that works. I forget that sometimes. I needed to curl up with Cooper and my book or Netflix and catch my breath. I needed to sleep a lot. I needed to grant myself permission to take this intermission.
So I did, and now it is ending. The lights are flickering and I need to head back into the theater. I’m ready. I am healed. I am feeling back to myself. I’m excited. Tomorrow a brand new act begins.