Living on a military base overseas can at times bring on a sense of melancholy. Daily life within the confines of base housing tends to get a bit dull. Staring at the same detestably off-white walls will make the most sane person start to feel institutionalized.
The once new and exciting place (aka latest PCS) has gone from exhilarating to … meh … for lack of a better word to describe this blah feeling, that is so mild it should barely be considered a feeling at all.¹ One thing that has helped me overcome this occasional lack of enthusiasm over the last few years is simply stopping.
Stopping? … Stopping, what?
Just STOP doing. Stop everything. Physically stop; mentally stop; emotionally … stop.²
Okay, so I’ve stopped what now?
Look around. Breath slowly and deeply. Take notice of your surroundings, without thinking about anything else … What do you see?Sometimes, the solution is that simple.
The Full (Short) Story and a Personal Moment of Enlightenment
Last autumn I started this post and never finished it… The image above was the result of my own much-needed stop and look moment back in November of 2013. I remember feeling exhausted, stressed to the max with a husband deployed and a bundle of kids and the all-inclusive noise that comes with our beloveds. It was time for the oldest to go to school; I’m yelling at one and dragging the other out to the car in socks and … apparently no shoes …
“ERGH…. go back in the house and get your FuhrEAKING shoes on, we’re gonna be late!”
In the remarkably short moment of silence I experienced while the youngest child ran inside to retrieve footwear … I stopped at the door of my car to breathe and was captivated instantly by a dawning moment colored in the most vibrant orange hues reflected from a window I so often look out of.
Daily for five years, I’d glanced through this very window (multiple times mind you, from both inside and out) never seeing beyond a spotted glass pane and the ironing board that rests against it! Had I continued down my path toward raging-morning-monster, this brilliant, most life affirming sky would have gone unnoticed. It was breathtaking just long enough to realize that my photo-op was quickly disappearing before my eyes!
Dedicated to the military spouse, however I think my point is clear to anyone who’s willing to just stop and become aware of the universal beauty of life that surrounds them all the time. Breaking the monotony is sometimes as simple as seeing a sunrise.
DISCLAIMER: The author of this article is many things, but is NOT a doctor. If you think you are clinically depressed, please seek medical attention.
¹ Do not mistake this feeling for depression … in my opinion these are two very different things. In this article, I refer to the ever-so-slight inner slump that seems to appear at random times throughout the years. It’s like a faint cerebral numbness that is always followed by an urge to burst back into living life fully. (Photographers, we tend to bounce back into inspiration mode pretty quickly don’t we?!)
² If you’re not already outside … Get up, get off your butt, and walk outdoors; it doesn’t work so well in closed quarters (that’s possibly why you’re feeling blue in the first place!) Seriously, stop reading; put your tablet down; get your ass off the couch.