You are a good person. If you are not a good person, you can start becoming one right now by just behaving as a good person would behave next time you are called to make a decision. If you are not sure if you are a good person, take comfort in the fact that it is not your responsibility to reflexively determine what kind of person you are.
Your friends like you. You do not have too many shallow acquaintances. In the event that you do have too many shallow acquaintances, the only way to rectify that situation is to accumulate history together via the passage of time until you are intimate friends. Time is already passing, so you are already doing everything you can do. If this is not a satisfying answer, just say yes to one extra social plan this week to create for yourself the illusion of action.
Everything in your past already happened and there is nothing really you can do about it. Unburden yourself from the obligation to constantly fight against unchangeable bygone situations. This is not lazy — it’s just the only thing you can actually do. Strive to do better in the future, and not in some grandiose, compulsive way. Just try to make the small, good choice every time you are presented with a new choice to make.
You do not need to think about whether you should go to graduate school today. You have already missed most deadlines for the year, so that recurrent tangent can be shelved once again until at least June. You may put an event on your calendar now to remind you to resume considering it then. Additionally, your life would not be better if you moved to a new/different city. Your life would be marginally more exciting for a few months due to the stress and thrill of moving, and then it would eventually be the same because you are the only constant in your life. Everything is fine. No ambitious action is required at this juncture.
You can re-up on goals at any time. You can restart your day at any time. If you have failed at something you were trying to do, or soured your day too soon with depression, you can restart from the beginning at any moment. Improvement doesn’t hinge on circadian rhythms. Just go in the bathroom and close your eyes for a second and come back out and restart your day. A goal you set at 11:23 a.m. or 9:45 p.m. doesn’t have worse odds than a goal you set when your alarm clock goes off in the morning.
Do not think about winter as one long dense block of grayness. Just take each day in chunks of a few light-gray hours. Keep in touch with friends. Cook something in a big pot. Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to watch. Leave the house. Go on a walk. It’s free!
Everything is fine!
Small syllabus of things that are calm and measured about big life ideas without being reductive:
• Letters to a Young Poet
• Notes of a Native Son
• Costco Guided Meditation
• The Chairs Are Where the People Go
• ”Rachel Rose: Everything and More” (at the Whitney until February 7)
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