Opposite Optimism: Life is Too Long

This time of year, we are surrounded by happy people posting gratitude lists. Soon, those same happy people will be singing carols to boot. But the holiday season isn't all happiness for everyone. And for many, the advice they are given is all wrong. 

We hear it over and over. 

Life is too short to work at a job you hate.
Life is too short to not be true to yourself.
Life is too short to be surrounded by negative people.

Sure, that’s true. Life is fleeting and can be ended suddenly and without warning. When a loved one is gone, we all lament the brevity of the time we knew them. But many of us hear these type of phrases and reply, “Blah, blah, blah.” Because that banal truism doesn’t really ring true for the truly depressed.

For many of us, life isn’t too short, it’s too long.

If you wake up in excruciating pain from any source, an hour is too long.  If you stand on a concrete floor for an 8-hour shift with an aching back, an insipid boss, and no interesting tasks or conversation, a day is too long.  

The already positive-minded people don’t need inspirational quotes, yet that seems to be who they are geared for. The truly depressed need something different.  I think we need to start phrasing it more accurately.

Life is too long to live a life you hate. 

You may very well live until you are eighty. That’s a very long time to be miserable. If you are struggling with depression, chronic pain, or other such affliction, you can visualize the length of decades of pain and desperation much more clearly than you can picture a whimsical life where you just didn’t have enough time to pick enough flowers and roll around in the sunshine. 

I’ve spent hours in bed because I couldn’t bring myself to get up. I understand the feel of endless days and months and years looming ahead of me with no hope in sight. That was my motivation to change. Not singing butterflies and quips about not having enough time. 

There is hope. There are ways to change your circumstances and concrete things to do. We all know this already. We just need the motivation to do it. 

If you hate your life, if you are wallowing under the covers right now, it does get better, but you have to get out of bed first. And the reason you have to get out of bed is because life is too long to be miserable.  But if you can’t get out of bed, you probably can’t summon the energy to call someone. If you are like me, the ringing of the phone makes you want to throw things. 

But if life is too long to be miserable and you can’t bear to talk to anyone there is another option. Take that cell phone off your nightstand and bring it under the covers with you.  I know talking is sometimes too much, but we can all text, right? Because that isn’t too scary. ImAlive.org  provides human interaction without the need of pants or vocal chords. 

Life is sometimes harder than it needs to be. I understand. We deserve to feel like life really is too short. Until then, though, I’m sticking with the opposite of optimism for inspiration.  Life is too long to hate your existance. Get up. Chase that dream. See how amazing you can be if you aren't afraid of trying. Go to school, get a new job, start that exercise program, move across the country. Be the best you you can be Do whatever it takes to make today the day it starts getting better. 



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