At the beginning of this week I felt absolutely fantastic.
There was a genuine spring in my step. Life was wonderful. I had so much hope, so much optimism - it was overflowing from me. It felt like I'd emerged from a tunnel into the bright dawn and I was running in the sunlight and not even feeling out of breath.
It could have been for a lot of reasons - the hot weather, the fact that my job is working out very nicely indeed and my finances are falling into line, looking forward to things to come - any number of things. Hell, maybe I'd hit just the right combination of sugars to balance my brain chemistry out perfectly.
I could have surfed that sunbeam all the way to the moon.
It's very hard to remember that you're on the rollercoaster at that point. You don't want to remember. This high point - this is where you want to be forever. It's where you want your life to stay. You don't want to go back to hoping a day like this comes along, if you're very lucky. You want this to be your new normal.
It never is.
Sometimes it's the tiniest thing that goes wrong - a phone call you forget to make, a bus being late, spilling spaghetti on your brand new white shirt. Sometimes it's a big thing, or at least it seems big at the time. Sometimes it's something that is actually quite big. Just sometimes it's nothing at all - like a switch being flipped by remote control, with no sign it's going to happen and no apparent stimulus.
That's the downslope, straight to the bottom of the sinewave. Wherein the optimism melts away, becomes an academic matter - you know that such-and-such is coming or so-and-so is good, but you don't feel it, not in any relevant way. When you're reminded of these facts, you have to concede the point. You weren't disputing their veracity. It just doesn't really matter. Not as much as when we were up there - up above the cloud layer, basking in the glory of the blazing sun.
This morning I found myself at the bottom of the sinewave. The rollercoaster has reached the nadir and is swinging around in amongst its own uprights and pillars, waiting for another twist or turn, or - just maybe - to find that chain that lifts it up once more.
Nobody made this happen. No event led to it. I'd like to reassure my readers of that - nothing anyone has done is the cause of my current mental state. Just a flipped switch; nothing much one can do about it. A helpless shrug, a wry smirk, and back on with our lives. I have things that need doing, be it sunny or shitty.
The key to it, as I have found, is to always remember it's a rollercoaster. Be aware at the top of your ride that there will one day be a bottom - and be twice as aware that when you hit a drop, there will one day be a climb. Prosaism can be boring, but it can also put one foot in front of the other when all else fails. Life is, as Bill Hicks put it, just a ride, and all rides have their crappy corners.
I wouldn't be anywhere near as capable of keeping that proasic view, however, were it not for my friends and the people I care about. Thank you, all. Every last one of you. I value you greatly.
(Also if you're one of my work colleagues - you totally count as my friends. The past two months have been a fantastic experience, as rewarding as it has been challenging, and frankly I wouldn't have it any other way!)
So what's the lesson to take from all of this? Basically, Blue October sum it up pretty well right here:
Keep on trucking, world.