Do you ever get that feeling of existential dread that runs down your belly and into your legs, leaving everything numb? I’m having that now. I think it’s anxiety-related, due to me not being at work during the middle of the day (because I wasn’t scheduled for any classes) and feeling guilty about it.
Aren’t humans weird? I have no reason to feel guilty, no reason to feel bad. It’s all in my head but I can’t shake it. I know this, but the feelings remain.
Seems like every winter about this time I write a post about how much I hate winter. It isn’t just lip service. My body chemistry changes in the winter and I wrestle, in a real way, with depression. Luckily mine is seasonal and usually dissipates right around the time that Spring begins, something that occurs much earlier in NC than it did in NH. So I know this is a temporary feeling.
It still makes me question everything, every year. It makes me cranky and short-tempered. It makes me want to drop all responsibilities and move to a tropical island.
Every single year, I tell myself I need to book a vacation in February.
And every single year, I do not do it. My current excuse is that I don’t have any time off in February. While this is true, there is a long weekend or two during the month, and I could probably get away with taking enough days off to fashion a week-get-away.
Why don’t I?
Well, of course there’s been Covid the last year, and as last year was my first year at my job, I didn’t feel like I could take the days. There’s always money, because vacations are costly, but prioritizing travel is a value.
The truth is, I have no idea why I haven’t made this a priority… yet. But next year, I need to make sure it happens.
This is a common problem in life, no? We shuffle through our days, especially if we have lots of responsibilities, like work or child-rearing, so intent on getting through this day that we forget to plan for future days.
I am an oddball who likes to think about the future, especially when today is hard. But doing something for a better future that makes today a little harder? No wonder more people don’t save for retirement.
Mr. ThreeYear, like many frustrated stay-at-home employees, has been dreaming about moving to a bigger house. The problem is, there’s very little on the market that doesn’t get snapped up in a day or two, driving prices sky high. Many people in our neighborhood are selling their homes because they’re able to ask, and get, so much money for them (our current Zestimate: $100k higher than when we bought our house two and a half years ago). But they forget that:
a. they have to fork at least 6% of that over to a real estate agent
b. they have to find somewhere else to live and all the other houses have gone up in price, too.
I have done the math, and there isn’t really a home out there that allows us to buy it and continue our plan of retiring in 8 years (or 9 years–at this point, probably 9 years).
Our home will be paid off, completely, in 9 years. That may seem like a long time, but it was an expensive home and we just moved into it two and a half years ago. Our kids will be in college then.
In my mind, there’s no reason to move. Our house is fine, albeit a bit small, and the kids like it. It serves our needs. The neighborhood is great. Our neighbors are friendly. The house is efficient to heat and cool (especially since we bought that new AC and furnace!). It’s centrally located.
But I can see why people make those decisions. It’s so much fun to look at new houses and dream of living there. The pool… the living room… the wet bar! I also make sure to imagine working a few more years while living there, too, and then the gild falls off the lily.
No house has seemed exciting enough to me to trump my dream of Mr. ThreeYear and me traveling all over the place in a few more years. I’m currently imagining spending a few months hanging out with my in-laws in Chile, and perhaps spending a few months touring somewhere fun like Fiji.
This afternoon (and yesterday afternoon), Mr. ThreeYear drug me out of the house to exercise. During our walk back to the house, we chatted about the future. We made some plans about how to pay for our trips. We dreamed about having time to spend months with our family members. Last night, a friend invited me over to hang out and chat since I was having a tough time. I have a reservation for August to go to Hawaii (we never used our miles to go to Spain thanks to Covid, so, I can make reservations galore!).
I’m fortunate in a thousand ways. I’m fortunate to have someone who drags me out of the house when I get down. I’m fortunate to have good relationships with my kids, husband, parents, sister, friends, in-laws, and colleagues. I’m fortunate to be financially stable. I’m fortunate to have time and space in my life to be able to be self-reflective. I’m fortunate to have enough money to buy healthy food.
But just because I’m supremely fortunate doesn’t mean I don’t get down, and I’m down right now.
My sister said it best a few weeks ago,”We need to remember that it’s winter, and give ourselves a break right now. Everything feels harder in the winter. Everything.”
If you’re reading this, and having a hard time, for any reason at all, I feel you.
If you feel down or outright depressed right now, I can relate to you. I feel your hurt.
I just want to remind you, like I am reminding myself, that your feelings are temporary. You will not feel like this forever. Spring is coming. Hang in there. Do whatever you need to do to get through this, but keep going.
Just a reminder, for when times are hard.