Lately, I’ve been feeling weighed down.
Nothing particularly awful or traumatic or even really difficult has occurred—at least nothing out of the ordinary. It’s more of an energy surrounding me.
I feel tired, no matter how much sleep I get.
I feel behind, no matter how much I’ve checked off my to-do list.
I feel burnt out, even when I take an hour or two to do nothing.
I feel like I want to get away, but I don’t know to where.
I feel lonely, even when I’m not actually alone (and even when I’ve chosen to be).
There’s one word that comes to mind when I try to describe this feeling—this sensation that envelopes me throughout the day:
It’s a quietly consistent buzz. A steady anxiety. A belief that I’m both missing out and overly committed at the same time.
And yet, within these days, within these moments that feel riddled with stress and heaviness, these moments that leave me feeling scattered and unsteady, are moments of beauty.
Brief mental interruptions that remind me to pay attention:
A song that I can’t help but sing at top volume.
Standing in the sunshine while my dog rolls around in the grass.
A car ride with my brother after not seeing each other for months.
A tall glass of cold, fruity, sour beer.
Laughing about a TikTok video my boyfriend randomly sent me.
Sitting outside on a late summer night when there’s zero humidity.
Watching a movie from my childhood that still gives me cozy vibes.
A 10-second cuddle on the couch when I’m longing for connection.
A spoonful of Rita’s vanilla custard (with rainbow sprinkles) after craving it for days.
These moments are endless, even when the heaviness attempts to overshadow them. These moments, if we allow them to, can break through the weight of stress and loneliness and exhaustion. These moments can offer the balance we need to make it through another day.
Finding the balance between the heaviness and the beauty always reminds me of a quote I read years ago in Marina Keegan’s collection of essays, The Opposite of Loneliness. Keegan was a promising author, whose essay of the same name was included in the Yale Daily News at the 2012 Commencement exercises. Sadly, Keegan died in a car accident five days after graduation. She was 22.
The first time I read this quote, I knew I would come back to it again and again, in loneliness and longing and overwhelming gratitude for the moments that truly matter:
“Do you wanna leave soon?
No, I want enough time to be in love with everything…
And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.”
~ Marina Keegan