One Step Ahead

Fall is beautiful and wonderful. It’s filled to the brim with family hikes, delicious foods, the incredible smells of fall. And it’s also the time of year I struggle. I don’t know why, but there it is.

I thought that this year I might be immune. My fall is packed with good things. I’m meeting up with people I adore for a whole weekend, I am going to my first out-of-state professional conference for the first time since I had kids, and I may even get to take a challenging eight mile hike I’ve never completed before. Depression can’t bite if I’m in my insulated happy-suit, right? Wrong.

For some inexplicable reason, it sneaked up on me early this year. Maybe it got a peek at my calendar of awesome and knew that this time in the waiting was its only opportunity. Depression is a sneaky little you-know-what. Anyway, it got me. Suddenly yesterday I found myself tangled like a bug in that all too familiar web of self-doubt and despair, all my personal failings both real and imagined playing in a continuous loop.

But I’ve got a secret weapon; stubbornness. This time I refuse to play by the rules. Just because it’s got me doesn’t mean it gets to keep me. There is still good in my world, even if it wants to hide itself behind a mask of inconvenience or disappointment.

I went shopping for a new book but didn’t find anything I wanted to buy. Instead, I found a book in the free bin at my favorite used bookstore.  It was a book sj has mentioned a time or two, but I had never read it.

It rained on Saturday. Poured for hours, knocking outdoor activities off the schedule. Instead, I spent my day in bed reading my free book. And said book turned out to be my first five-star book of the year. It is also on my personal top 10 ever. Ever. It made me cry, it made me think, it made me wonder.

This morning I woke far too early with a sudden, jump-out-of-bed illness. After such a jolt of adrenaline, going back to sleep was impossible. So I canned eight jars of pumpkin butter and did three loads of laundry. After taking Squish to school, I dug in to my afternoon chores. Now my floors are steam-cleaned, laundry is finished. By 10am, all my chores for the day were done. Now I get to start a project I’ve put off for a while, and I get to play.

There weren’t near enough jars for all of my pumpkin butter. A breakfast of hot pumpkin butter, coffee, and fresh bread is divine. And I can do it again tomorrow.

Some of the photos I took last year and had high hopes for are unusable. But the contrast between my old camera and my new are vast. My new camera has incredible capabilities, and I have just scratched the surface of what it can do. There are tortoise books in my future. Plus, by clearing out the bad photos, I’ve made a bit of room on my computer.

I know that positive thinking isn’t a cure. Depression is not exactly a choice, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a choice to be made. I can focus on what’s good and try to stay afloat while I ride out this storm, or I can give in and sink. For today, I am stubborn. I am counting those blessings as fast as I can see them. For today, I’m one step ahead.

 

 

*Update – As I tried to publish this post, Chrome and all its extensions crashed, taking part of my post with it. Depression is a sore loser.