February 2017: “A Little Bit Sad”

Dear whoever is reading this,

I won’t lie to you. February has taken its toll on me and it’s no secret to people close to me that there were moments this month when it’s felt like this was the lowest I’ve ever been (and it very well might have been). What cemented this idea was something while having drinks with a coworker outside the office one day: “I like chatting with you and hanging out with you, but you always seem a little bit sad.” Even though he was fairly drunk at this point in the conversation, I couldn’t help but take his comment to heart. I tend to write off comments from people who don’t know me extremely well, but in this case, it almost meant more to me that someone who barely knows me but works with me has the impression that I’m “a little bit sad.”

It is true. In the last year, I have been “a little bit sad.” For what it’s worth, the last year has had an above-average amount of upheaval. I graduated from business school, moved into a new apartment, started a new job, and had a trying first 90 days adjusting to it. The pieces of my personal life I relied on most and relied on for their stability were suddenly in flux. With all that life change, the strength and confidence on which I pride myself took a huge hit.

I’m reassured looking back at my 5-year journal, where I started doing a daily log of my days on January 1, 2016. Looking at the entries from last February on top of the ones from this February, I was anxious and depressed pretty much the entire month last year, too. I didn’t come out of the funk until March 5. This gives me hope for the same this year — that the feelings are at least partially influenced by the winter season and that the storm clouds will lift as the daylight extends. I can’t afford to think of an alternative that’s anything but positive.

When I finally get off the waitlist for a therapist, the first thing I will say to him or her is, “I’m afraid I’ll always be ‘a little bit sad.’ I don’t want to be known — in work or outside of it — as the person who is ‘a little bit sad.’”

Because I am still at least 5 weeks away from getting matched with a therapist, I am trying to find things in my life to look forward to next month. Because my life lately has revolved around work, the thing I am most looking forward to involves work:

Just as my personal life hit the fan three months ago, I was conveniently given a project that would consume my entire life and distract me from any thoughts about anything but work. Barring any “Ides of March” hiccups, the launch goes live to the public on March 15.

When job-hunting in business school, I asked myself often, “What kind of projects do you want to be doing in your job after your MBA?” My answer was something to the effect of, “High profile, extremely cross-functional projects with superhero-level impact. I want to be doing things that are unlike anyone in the company has done before.” I got exactly what I wished for: It’s a stay-at-the-office-late, test-your-resolve, nearly-break-your-team kind of project. I know the scale of it is huge when my company, despite being notoriously frugal when it comes to swag and spending on food, signed off on letting us get have a party with catered food and team T-shirts.

I hope that by the time we are celebrating this launch, I will be closer to being a little less sad. If nothing else, I’ll be just two weeks away from a 5-day trip to California, and I am optimistic that getting to a different state will help put me in a different state.