Getting it from Behind on the Bumper Cars

5 Jan

My life is like a ride on the bumper cars at the Illinois State Fair: I switch directions often and crash into things, and all I walk away with is a sore neck.

I’ve been making and selling t-shirts online for six years. It’s part-time, easy, and I don’t have to talk to people. It’s perfect for me.

Still, last winter I shut it down so I could write every day. Then in the Spring, I woke up one day and realized I was done writing.  I re-opened the online stores and worked through the summer and fall. Then one cold day, again, overnight, I woke up and was a writer again. I tried to do both, but found myself neglecting the “business.” I have put the store “on vacation” five times this winter to catch up (people get cranky when their little t-shirts are late).

And within these shift are mini-shifts. I began two other blogs and posted around 15 times to them. Now, the newness is gone and I don’t like to think about them sitting out there, feeling neglected. Yes, blogs feel. I began a long writing project, a middle school novel aimed at my middle school daughter. I’m still “into” it, but will that last? That kind of project takes some dedication; dedication I might have . . . until opening day.

Every day I try to decide what to do. Should I do what I enjoy or stick with making money at what feels like a real job? I’m almost certain that whatever I decide to do now will change in mere months.

So. What the heck is going on with me? All I can figure out is that I’m suffering from some kind of seasonal affective disorder that changes my brain chemistry from November to March. In warm months I think about baseball and bicycles, but when it turns cold I read philosophy books and think about death.

Dr. Oz told me (not personally) to consider light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. Yesterday, I browsed Amazon for just that. I didn’t buy anything. Yet.

The thing is, I don’t feel depressed. I don’t feel sad and hopeless. But when you’re buried in depression it takes awhile to realize you’re in it.  Am I in it? Am I–right now!–figuring it out?

If it’s not lack of sunlight, it could be what I’m calling the “Too Much Freedom Hypothesis.” I’m fortunate to have this problem. Most people are stuck in crappy jobs they can’t walk away from. But it’s not all ice cream and puppy dogs living with this freedom. My only deadlines are self-imposed. In College I had due dates. Write a ten page paper by next Friday!  At work they expected me to show up at the SAME TIME EVERY DAY. They kept track of how many days I was late or “sick.” That all takes discipline. They’d hand me a stack of papers and expect it to be taken care of by a certain time. It’s easy to be a corporate slave. Just tell me what to do boss!

Do you know why some men can’t handle retirement? It’s the loss of a sense of purpose, of a sense of accomplishment. All of a sudden, they’re no longer “productive” members of society. Former executives are working fast food drive-throughs.

I “vacationed” the store on Tuesday. Today, I’m feeling some of this retirement distress.

In the end, my problems are probably a dash of depression, two tablespoons of plain-ol’ neurosis, a half cup of social anxiety, and a third of a cup of “too much freedom.”

And for the record, I’ve never liked the bumper cars.

Oh, you like the bumper cars, huh? Oh, look, here’s the merry-go-round, let’s do that.

With the bumper cars, I don’t like the interaction with the other drivers. If you ram into me good, face to face, I don’t like that moment when we’re sitting there looking at each other. Wipe that smirk off your face. I don’t go after people randomly either; I attack jerky-looking men (however, at a young age I do remember trailing cute girls intent on little love taps and never from behind).

And at this age–pushing forty–if you blindside me at full speed, bring in the damn stretcher ‘cuz I’m not walking out.

No, this guy would rather be sealed into a private pod and taken on a leisurely ride. An hour would be nice. Is there a ride where they hand out (clean) pillows beforehand?

Excuse me Mr. Carny, can you tuck me in?



3 Responses to “Getting it from Behind on the Bumper Cars”

  1. Lunar Euphoria January 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    I relate to the November – March thing, well except mine goes extends to April. But why does it have to be a disorder? (…other than the fact that some people stand to make money off it.)

    I think of it being more analogous to hibernation – just one of those normal fluctations of life.

    • fightn4it January 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Yeah, I guess if the hibernation is bearable, no pun intended. You’re right though, in my case, it’s not falling into a depression, but thinking about life differently.

  2. aimee January 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    i just read you closed the shop! sale it to me! i need a job! u need to write all the time.

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