A few nights ago, I was at the gay bar with my friends. One of my friends was performing in amateur drag night (what an amazing king) and I got to spend time with the people I was going to have to leave all summer. I had driven an hour back to campus just to spend time with them and support my friend. I was with people I wanted to be with at a place I wanted to be at; and I felt good. I could ignore the anxiousness poking incessantly at my consciousness and just have fun. I even danced to a Lady Gaga mashup—who
knew I had it in me?
The next morning, my GI issues struck, I was tired, and I had to drive myself and an acquaintance an hour back home. I began dwelling on my mishaps from the night before. Was my dancing too awkward? Did everyone think I was dumb for accidentally running a red light? Was I going to get bed bugs from sleeping on an uncovered mattress? Why was that drunk lady telling me all about her son (“That’s my son! We’re Mexican-Americans from California!”)?
I went from feeling completely accepted, having fun despite usually hating crowds, to anxious, upset, and sick. I spent a lot of the day after wallowing in my misery by watching true crime documentaries and dog rescue videos. And I spent a lot of that time sick in the bathroom. (I didn’t drink, Mom. It was just my stomach problems rearing their ugly heads like a Hydra monster straight out of a Greek myth. And that Hydra monster was biting my stomach with all of its heads, let me tell ya.)
One symptom of my anxiety that I’ve always had trouble dealing with is that when I have a high, a low immediately follows. I’m not sure if everyone gets this, but I never seem
able to bask in the heights of my positive emotions for too long. The negative emotions come crashing down soon enough, and I end up hating the highs because they come with lows.
But after taking a nap and getting rid of that I-shouldn’t-have-stayed-up-until-2-a.m.-but-maybe-I-should-have-because-YOLO-right? feeling, I made a decision. I wasn’t going to let my low mood now ruin what had been an amazing night. Sure, I forgot to bring my leftovers home. And, yeah, I have to spend all summer away from my friends. But I had a fun night, and I can’t forget that.
Instead of continuing to be sad that it was over, I thought about other activities that make me a happier (or at least more stable) person. In doing so, I realized that I often live life for those highs in the future—a concert, a trip, a dinner date with my sister—and I need to start doing things now that give me more satisfaction. I need to read and write
creatively more; words have always been beautiful to me, and I should immerse myself in what I find beautiful. I need to play my instruments and spend more time outside. I need to dress how I want and do my hair how I like it.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been trying to add little things into my life that make me a better person and that help me be more content in the present instead of always living for that thrill in the future. Even if the highs do come with lows, the highs are wonderful, and if they come with a day or two of negative head space, it’s worth it.
Never give up the moments that make you happy just because you may be sad later.