What I Learned From Starting New Stages

When you’re in a bad place in your life, mornings are delicate things.

Lovely, well-adjusted people have told me dozens of times that mornings are blessings. That a new morning means you made it through yesterday, and now you have a chance to do it again. I know they mean well (and I tell myself this to keep from rolling my eyes), but I can’t keep from thinking that they’ve forgotten what their last low felt like. Right now, waking up in the morning feels like setting my feet for a relay race. Not only that, but a relay race that I was late to because I only just finished yesterday’s race.

Sometimes I find myself staying up until three in the morning just to put off starting again, but morning comes again eventually anyway.Girl Sleeping

My mornings always start much later than they should and yet, somehow, I still never feel prepared. See, the thing about moving to a totally new city by yourself, is that you are by yourself. Funny how that works, right?

I know. Crazy.

What you don’t figure out until later is that “by yourself” will take on an entirely different meaning. The kind of “by yourself” that you were used to will become a distant thing from the past. It’s not just closed doors or twenty-minute drives anymore. All the people that matter are reduced to voices on a phone or lagging images on a Skype call. Personal space instantly becomes your only space, and even though you used to think you liked being alone, you start wishing other people would come into your bubble.

This is when we employ to the use of the Happy Person Face.

The Happy Person Face is that pinched smile you paste on every time someone asks, “How are you today?” You try to make the truth into something acceptable, even though all you end up saying is, “I’m doing great!” We’re convinced that the Happy Person Face sells it, but I think most people only go with it for our benefit or ignore it for their own. No matter the reason, we wind up spending our afternoons reminding ourselves that almost everyone lies when they answer that question in public, so we don’t need to feel guilty about it.

The thing to remember about the Happy Person Face is that, however well-meaning, that’s exactly what it is: a lie. And not a very strong one, at that. The more things you try to hide behind it, the weaker it gets. It may start to feel heavy. It may start to warp. If you try to hold it up for too long, chances are, you’re going to drop it eventually. You start to let personal things slip out of your mouth at inappropriate times, around the wrong people, in the wrong way, just because you’ll lose your mind if you don’t. You can’t tell people from home that you’re unhappy because there’s nothing they can do. You aren’t just a drive away anymore, and there isn’t any combination of magical words that can help you as much as a night of face masks and rom-coms with your best friend would.

Woman at a cafeBut, once you realize there isn’t really another option, you start to adapt.
You go on more walks. You find places with good Wi-Fi and force yourself out of the house every once in a while. You start driving with the windows down, even though it messes up your hair. You treat yourself to ice cream. You buy a bike, and you ride it. You change, and then you start to remember why you made this choice to begin with.

Of course, realizations like these aren’t cure-alls. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but I’m going to tell you again: good things never come without the bad. Life is a series of constant cycles. Some nights will still be rough, and some days will still require your Happy Person Face. The most important thing to remember is that everything is temporary. If you stay open to new things, the good ones are a lot more likely to find you.