Monday, February 04, 2008

Finding Focus

Depression is a big talking point in America. All sorts of people are depressed. Some not necessarily because they have any reason to be.

While many people suffer from very real clinical depression, I think others might suffer from a more general malaise - one that exhibits itself when you're reasonably comfortable and content, but feel there's something more you want from life.

It's that elusive missing 'thing' that makes some people very unhappy - and I think it's a problem that's worse in a place like America, where it's cheaper and easier to meet your day-to-day needs (food, shelter, cable television) than in other countries.

To a certain extent, I've noticed it in myself. When I first arrived in New York, there were immediate needs that needed to be addressed - like getting a job, finding a place to live and securing an astonishingly impractical car to serve as the 'Ginger Mobile.'

Once those goals were accomplished, the momentum slowed a little - and recently I've found myself a little confused about 'what happens next.'

Treading water is a situation that doesn't lend itself to achievement. I've noticed my spare time - weekends and evenings - being eaten up by a variety of activities that don't seem to actually accomplish anything in the end. I've gone from having a million and one irons in the fire to actually finding myself wondering what to do when I get home.

I realise I'm missing a sense of purpose - and that 'missing element' is something that could be very easily misdiagnosed as depression. It's certainly depressing enough.

But I've managed to achieve so much in the last year, I'm determined not to lose momentum now. In many ways, I wasted the four years I spent in England because I was twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my American life to begin. Now I'm here, I should be determined not to waste a single moment. I should get out there and achieve my ambitions!

Cue the sound of screeching tyres.

What exactly ARE my ambitions?

I mean, they used to be about moving to America. Now I'm here, one of the reasons I've found it so difficult to get my head down and 'keep on trucking' is because I'm not exactly sure where that truck's meant to be heading.

Maybe this is why so many people find it difficult to locate that 'thing' that's missing from their life. They haven't given any thought to what it is they actually want!

A while ago, I posted about a book I've mentioned before (which came recommended by no less than gorgeous Rock FM presenter Claire Anderson.) The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is a pseudo-scientific self-help guide that has a deceptively simple and effective message. It's a method to bringing your dreams just that much closer to reality - as simply as visualising what they are and how you might go ahead making them come true.

While I don't believe the universe magically grants wishes, like The Secret seems to suggest, I do put a lot of weight behind the theory of visualising your goals. Setting targets is the first goal towards achieving them.

Therefore, I'm going to spend the next couple of days thinking seriously about what it is I want out of life - and how best I'm going to get it.

If you're unhappy, unsatisfied or just feeling 'bleaugh,' I suggest you do exactly the same thing. Think about your life now and think about the very real, very tangible things that would make it better - the things that would make it what you want it to be.

My martial arts instructor says: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." I think it starts even earlier than that. A journey begins when you open a map and decide exactly where it is you're going.


Kitty said...

Amen to all that. :-) x

Reverse_Vampyr said...

Over the past year, I have had a similar experience dealing with depression (due to a terminal illness combined with losing my job back in April). Found The Secret during some Christmas shopping and wound up buying it for myself. Like you, I don't think it's a magical genie as described, but do believe strongly in the power of positive thinking.

Congrats on finding your motivation and best of luck to ya.

Kirsty said...

This really struck a chord with me.
I think I may check out this book. God knows I need some motivation...:-)

Anonymous said...

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is filled with instances of The Secret principles. Read a short essay that draws parallels between
the message of The Secret and the 19th century English novel here