Last year, I began to realize that my perfunctory lifestyle was causing days to meld together. My mind was deteriorating through the stress and negativity, my memories blanking, consumed by depression. As I dug for any semblance of joy, tried to force myself to remember something fun, it wasn't until I found myself walking through a store and catching a whiff of something that it occurred to me what was missing from my life. It was a scent I could not put my finger on, but that brought back a surge of the past through the void.
Celebration and tradition helps create memories and separate out the drudgery of the day to day experience. I lived a pretty monkish means, not seeing the point in doing something just for the sake of pomp and circumstance, until I realized that living everyday with bare walls, shoveling down only the necessary bits of food, and just focusing on survival and artistic work was not what makes a life. I was struggling to even create anything during that time, and spent a good deal of my energy just lying in bed on the internet.
There were external factors outside of just my lack of enthusiasm elsewhere, but it was when I understood the power of association, the effect of arbitrary connections, I took the first step in my recovery and decided to treat holidays more seriously. Go big, go bold, and create a memory.
So for my New Year’s Resolution, I vowed to celebrate every major holiday, despite my lack of natural interest in that sort of thing. Of course, even at the time, right from the jump my first thought was what to do for Valentine’s Day. A holiday meant for love when I could barely stomach the thought of it?
Get a date with someone? That didn’t sound fun, and the entire point is to enjoy yourself, right? Going on some blind date seems counterproductive. I doubted severely that I would find the love of my life within that time, plus there was a part of me who didn’t have any interest in seeking romance ever again, so doing the traditional aspects of V-Day seemed unreasonable.
Celebrate it as being single? That seems contradictory, sort of like how I think you have to have some interest in God if you’re going to be a devote atheist; religion must be important to you if you make your lack of belief a big part of your identity. Which isn’t problematic, but rather than shifting the attention to something I don’t particular care about—being single—I want to spend the day celebrating something I do.
I wish my cat was in the city, or my best friends, or my parents. I think I might have a job working with dogs, but I doubt they’ll call me today. Spending the day with animals would be great, but then again, it’s supposed to be a holiday, so I told myself no projects. This blog is the only thing I’m allowed to do.
I’m not sure how to entertain myself when I’m not working on something. I had this thought some time back, wondering if I took a day off, really, truly off, and did whatever I wanted to do, what would it be?
Nothing. Because that’s what depression does. It makes you forget how to enjoy yourself. And that’s the problem.
It's about love, I said. So what do I love? Open up the definition, find something meaningful.
Today I’m going to call my loved ones and see who answers. I’m going to wear red, buy myself something sugary, and watch my favorite movies and T.V. shows.
But this holiday is actually looking up. I'm less stressed about money, have been making some friends, and going along on my resolutions and projects. I feel a lot better today than I have in a while, and I think I should take that energy and do something fun. Fun for the sake of fun. Fun for the sake of having a life. Not worrying about the productivity or the purpose, just celebrating for the hell of it.
No matter where you are or who’s in your life, take this day to make yourself, and those around you, happy. Do something you enjoy. Celebrate the things you love, the people you love, and do something nice. Even if this holiday just stinks of swarmy insincerity for you, even if it’s not your bag, even if it just reminds you of disappointment or heartbreak, take it from me, use this arbitrary moment to remind yourself that it’s the little pleasures in life that make it worth living. Do one thing to show that love comes in many shapes and sizes, even if it’s just a love for Rick and Morty, chocolate, or your dog.
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