Monday, February 6, 2012

Swimming to Euphoria (Just another Manic Monday)

I used to be such an even-keeled person.

Oh, not when I was a teen, maybe, but as an adult. I was generally one of those people that didn't have wild mood swings or bouts of depression. Sure, if something particularly difficult or unhappy was going on, my mood would go with it, but as a general proposition, I was steady and rolled with the punches.

Then, a few years ago (oh, you bastard 2007-2008, you know who you are), my life went through a minor bumpy period.

I was struggling with a difficult child, struggling to get my writing sold, and struggling with the feeling I wasn't digging my husband all that much anymore (no worries, readers, turns out he had no love lost for me either at that point ;)).

Still, everything went reeling.

Oh, you wouldn't have known it to look at me. I continued to show up at school committees, to enjoy my paid mediation work, and to get the kids to their various activities and attend social functions here and there. In fact if any of my friends are reading, most of them (though not all) might be slightly shocked to read this.

But there you have it. I had a period in my life where everything went reeling.

For a year or two, I swirled at the edge of some precipice.

It wasn't pleasant, but it gave me an empathy I never had before for those who battle anxiety or depression. I understood now what it meant to not be able to just snap yourself out of it.

During that period, the only things that felt like they were saving me were my kids, my sense of humor, and, mostly, my ability to plunge myself daily into some water.

Then three things happened. I got a book deal, I found open water swimming, and my hubby and I miraculously liked each other again.

See, here we are in NYC last spring, still liking each other
(Ok, fine, that last part was less than miraculous, and actually took a lot of work, but, hey, sometimes you have to put the time in.)

Everything got better again.

Life resumed.

My more difficult kid began to mature.

And there was even some excitement with the new writing career.

La di da di da.

Except it was never exactly quite the same.

I don't know if a part of me is just more jaded now, or less trusting, or if this is just something that happens with age. And, I do tend to think it's the latter. That my cosmic crisis just happened to coincide with dipping my feet ankle deep into my forties. And, of course, I'm now in them up to my waist.

Still, I wake up so often feeling angsty, dissatisfied, and melancholy. Some days I can shake it. Other days, not so much. I suppose a lot of it depends on how well my writing career is progressing on any given day.

*points to today, coughs, backs away from the precipice.*

Still, I keep pushing myself. Trying not to give in to the quicksand.

Thank goodness, my kids are still here. My hubby is (mostly) a gem, and we now seem to have stretched the open water season well beyond any bounds of reason or good sense. ;)

Yep, I confess, I went again yesterday.

That's me, at the top of the screen. With my friend Annmarie (with the orange safety buoy -- i forgot mine...) who is willing to swim with me at every whim. (How will I ever thank you, Annmarie?) and our friend Carol, of the Water-Blog, who had swum the day before and was, thus, kind enough to stay ashore and film us, instead.

Together, we are kicking away the angst and the blues of middle age. Together, we are swimming to euphoria.

I'm with you and you're with me
And so we're all together.
So we're all together

So we're all together
Swim with me, I'll swim with you
And so we will swim together
As we swim along, oh:
We are swimming to Euphoria, Euphoria, Euphoria
We are swimming to Euphoria, Euphoria today.

I don't know what I'd do without it. I am very, very grateful.

Meanwhile, it's Monday again. And, I'm feeling slightly manic.

In no small part because half of you reading won't even know who the Bangles are. ;)

But, anyway, have a happy one.

Good luck to us all.

- gae


  1. Gae, I absolutely ADORE you!

    Your writings, ranting and ravings instill a sense of hope in my own life. I am continually finding myself saying, "Hey, if she can do all of those things, I can do what I need to do too!" You are a source of inspiration for me to keep on trying to attain my writing goals while still living and interacting with all of the other people in my life (namely family and friends). I admire you for your tenacity, honesty and incredible sense of humor in the midst of this crazy roller coaster ride call Life.

    ~ Cat

  2. One of the best parts of becomming somewhat public through both facebook and twitter, and just my writing life in general, is the thought that my ramblings inspire anyone. If that's the case, hurrah! Cathy. I'm grateful for our connection and you, lovely, inspire me too.

  3. What a wonderful blog. Sharing this. Beautifully written.

  4. I can relate to this. A lot. Thank you. <3

  5. Wow, look at you go! You're a fish! I think those slumps hit everyone. What I love about your post is that things got better. You didn't give up on aspects of your life just because they were hard in that moment. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Gae, the way you describe sometimes waking up feeling melancholy -- me too -- therefore I think it might be a common thing in a woman's forties or fifties. Maybe it's got something to do with hormones?