How I Purged My Mind of Pessimism

Before we get into today’s blog post, I made the decision to switch up the publishing schedule for the Davis Daily. Rather than posting on Mondays and Wednesdays, new articles are heading out on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead. 

Not a big change, but this allows me to take a little more time to rest over the weekend. 

Working from home full time, blogging twice a week, filming daily videos, and COVID (of course) means all I do is work, write, and hit record. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s important to unwind and spend time with my partner, too.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way: let’s do this thang!

Since the beginning of the third stay-at-home order, which kicked in before the Easter Long Weekend, anger has been brewing in my mind.

The kettle was slow to boil, but as it got hotter and hotter, my thoughts got darker and darker – and my emotional state sank deeper and deeper. 

I was unaware of what was happening, but my patience was wearing thin and my temper was ignited with a shortened fuse. 

At first, I was oblivious to the churning emotions inside; I have plenty of tasks keeping me occupied. But on the outside, the symptoms were starting to manifest. Most notably, I had become short with Andrea. 

For no good reason – not that there is ever a good reason to be short with your spouse – I was lashing out at her with cutting comments and blunt rebuttals to anything she said. Specifically, when she tried to voice her concern for my mental health and how hard I was pushing myself, I refused to listen and would turn the conversation around on her. 

As you know, open and honest communication is one of the most important elements of a healthy relationship. But I was closing off the dialogue without a second thought – instead of listening and understanding, I was blocking and attacking. 

It led to a massive strain on our relationship, and during the pandemic, that only makes things worse. Did you know divorce rates and break-ups have spiked since the beginning of the global health crisis? 

Another symptom was a lack of creative output at work and on the blog. Ideas were slow to form and my productivity decreased drastically. Not to mention, my motivation to get shit done reached an all-time low. 

Truthfully, if not for the recent inspiration I found with filming Your Daily Dose of D, I doubt I’d be writing this post. 

I became more cynical about the world, choosing to see nothing but the greed of humans and our inability to do what’s best for anything or anyone but ourselves. News outlets sharing nothing but stories of senseless violence did little to help my mood, and the constant complaining on social media only compounded the stress. 

Pessimism became my bedfellow. 

And then we were hit with additional restrictions last weekend, which made about as much sense to me as the reality television show, Teen Mom OG

Despite my best efforts, the anger boiled over and I snapped (in my frustration, I tried to chug a Guinness – if you watched the video, you’ll know that was an epic fail).

The chink in the armour

Now, I don’t recommend allowing yourself to get to that point. Letting anger get the best of you is never a good idea, but the explosion did leave a chink in my armour – a hole big enough for Andrea’s wisdom to squeeze through. 

“Instead of focusing on what we can’t do or don’t have, set your mind on what we do have and what we can do.” 

Clichés aside, her simple words had deep meaning, and they had a profound impact on my psyche. The anger subsided to the point where I was able to take stock of how truly fortunate I am:

  • I have a job I love—not to mention, I’ve been lucky enough to remain employed during the entire pandemic.

  • My apartment is a haven—I live in a penthouse suite, which Andrea has decorated beautifully (her 50+ houseplants add to the oasis, I have to admit). 

  • Despite not being able to see my friends in person, we talk often—our group chat is lit and can always be counted on for a laugh. 

And most importantly, I have an amazing partner who loves and supports me, even though I can be an asshole from time-to-time. Seriously, she treats me like a King, when really, I’m little more than a Jester.

Going fishing for a little optimism 

Her message hit home, and while I couldn’t hit the squash court (which I’m missing most right now), there was something I realized I could do: go fishing. 

For 2021, the Ministry of Natural Resources implemented a new early season for bass in Zone 20 here in Ontario. It’s catch and release only, but I’m not too keen on eating anything out of Lake Ontario anyway. 

The lake is a five-minute drive from where I live, so I decided to wake up early that Saturday and head out to take a few casts off the shoreline. I knew the recent cold front would slow the bite, but that didn’t matter – the intention was to purge my mind of the pent-up pessimism. 

You see, fishing has always been an excellent way for me to decompress. Just being around the water is soothing, and it helps me ground myself; it gives me clarity, reminding me to enjoy the simple things in life. 

Each cast is an opportunity to catch something. In this case, every cast was a release of negative energy. 

The sun was shining – the air was crisp and refreshing. Passersby were quick with a wave and a friendly smile. They all wished me luck, and an elderly gentleman even offered up a fishing tale; his dog greeted me with one of the wagging variety.

And while I didn’t catch anything, I did hook into a little hope. 

I encourage you to do the same. Perhaps it’s not fishing, but there’s always something you can do to unwind and defuse a stressed mind. 

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, remind yourself of what you do have. Don’t think about what you can’t do; think about what you can do.

Time’s are tough, and they likely will be for some time yet, but narrowing in on the negativity only makes it worse. 

Cast a line and try to catch a little optimism.

Thanks for reading, folks. 🎣

The Diary of Davis Newsletter.
Photo by Aaron Burden

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