I’ve been feeling sort of down the past week or so, maybe even longer. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is, as everything is going pretty swimmingly in my life. I’m about to move to a dreamland, I’m selling work, I’m doing fun things with fun people, etc etc. On paper, where I am now is where I wanted to be. So why this nagging anxiousness and unhappiness?
Lately I’ve been thinking about the last time I felt true self-cultivated happiness–the kind of happiness that comes from just me and my doings–not other people, places, or things. The last time I felt that kind of happiness was late this past winter/early this spring.
It was a period from early February through March, or thereabouts. The fact that I was going to be in Columbus for a while longer had just set in. I had just started an office job that I found less than desirable, to put it mildly. The winter was tame but frustrating. I still had no friends here, and I felt like I was slowly losing my friends across the miles east and west. I felt sad and stifled.
It was right around this time that I started making changes to my small and dull life here. I woke up early every morning in order to go to a coffee shop and read for an hour before the office job. The coffee shop guys started knowing me by name and offering me deals and special mugs. I must’ve gone there every single morning for about seven weeks. The place calmed me, the coffee caffeinated me, and my book took me away from my own mind.
At this same time, I was going out to large parks to photograph every chance I got. Weekends mostly, but at least every weekend. If I couldn’t go out and hit the town with friends and subsequently wallow in a hangover all the next day, then I’d at least go out and photograph. I’d be alone where it feels best to be alone, instead of alone in my empty house. The work I made during this time isn’t my best work, but those days in the parks were crucial to rebuilding and mending my somewhat broken soul.
There was something about the mix of early morning coffee reading, long photo adventures, plus the idea that the world really was my oyster–when I did move, I could essentially move anywhere. I felt very calm, hopeful, and lonely in a way that wasn’t that sad. I was my own person, for myself, not for anyone else.
I’m not really sure when that changed, but I don’t really feel that way anymore. I’m still busy with my photography, but in a way that’s geared towards production and marketing instead of thinking about and seeing the world. I made some friends here in Ohio, but those friendships made me doubt things about myself and people in general. And then when I decided to move to Santa Fe, I was back to feeling like I was just biding time here in Ohio, a feeling I hate but often feel.
I mean, it’s okay. In three weeks I’ll be halfway to Santa Fe, with one of my closest friends, Erin, as my co-pilot. And I have no doubts that I’ll once again rebuild my soul and my happiness in Santa Fe. Things really are good, don’t get me wrong.
But there’s still a part of me that secretly misses those mornings when I’d wake up with nothing in particular to look forward to except finding my own little moments of happiness in a life that I had somehow stumbled into.