Time flies by and my blog stagnates without any creative surge on my side. Even a swan photo-shoot on the snowy Ljubljanica river bank a few weeks ago did not raise my creative enthusiasm. Although I did enjoy it, despite my growing frustration at the performance of my long-lens.
When one does not create, according to the principles of relativity of time it should feel dull and stretched out, but funnily enough the relative time still flies by quickly enough but without any real purpose to it. If not for my kids, my days would have bundled themselves into a lump of indiscernible mess of repetitiveness. And I am to blame for the situation. I have not been able to exercise my usually present ability of “kicking myself in the butt” to inspire me to do something useful with my free time. While I have realized that getting something started is always very hard, but once you get going it can lead you to phenomenal places. Like the other day a friend of mine, Gašper, asked me if I could bring my VW Beetle to a photo-shoot of the new ID.3 VW all-electric car, so that they would be able to show the long evolution of the car development the VW has traversed across decades. My first enthusiasm about the idea was supplemented by an increasing feeling of “I really do not feel like going outside of my apartment just now and why should I”. While this feeling lately seems to prevail in my mood-set, I managed to “kick myself in the butt” this time and got out of the apartment, climb into the beauty of a bug and racket my way to the photo-shoot. And you know what, I had a blast, talking to and watching very creative people do their thing, safely socializing (keeping the distance and wearing masks). I even managed to steal some of my own photos of the set. When I was driving back home, my head felt clearer and my mood increased significantly. What used to be my normal mood seemed to me at that moment like I was flying. That only tells me how low I have gotten. And I didn´t even notice that I have fallen.
At that moment I realized I was…am feeling depressed. Although I have the same problems like millions of people across the world, I have never thought that I would have to contend with anything like I have been feeling this week – only the experience of going outside, getting some fresh air mixed with some exhaust of the bug seemed to help me reset my mind. When it did, I started to notice the mood swings that were urging me back into a state that I can only describe as depression. Not that clinical kind (hope this is the correct expression – I just mean it wasn´t too serious, but serious enough) that would block me from performing normally at everyday tasks, but the kind that keeps me focused on things that agitate me without seeing a way out or without seeing options to deal with the perceived problems.
The breaking point in my already deteriorating mood was an altercation with a neighbor in our apartment building. One morning, while the kids were having their Zoom courses, the upstairs neighbor started playing drums and it was not even 10 o´clock yet. I waited a couple of minutes, thinking it was just the kid acting out, but it didn´t stop. So, I went upstairs, with the aim of explaining and asking to stop with the drums while the school is on (I did not plan on getting into the debate about the appropriateness of drums in an apartment building). The reaction I got was much less than pleasant and very unnerving – I was accused of telling people how to live their lives and I got a lesson how important the drumming is. When I tried to explain that the school should come first, I barely got a word out as I was interrupted with the frustration of the neighbor. It seemed I was not the only one that complained to them that some aspects of their behavior are not meant for an apartment building, which frustrated the neighbor even further (which is interesting to me, myself I would start to seriously consider my behavior, if more people complained about it – but that is just me). Finally, because I did not want to even appear hostile towards a head smaller woman, I thanked her for her understanding (with an emphasized sarcastic undertone) and left. I am not sure what caused my mood to deteriorate to the level that all I could feel was anger, disappointment, indifference, panic, claustrophobia of being cooped in an apartment with the overwhelming neighbor´s noise and several other things mixed into one large burst of emotions, but I am sure the attitude of the neighbor did not help. Furthermore, I noticed that I could not focus on anything else but the noise – not writing, not reading, not even playing games helped at distracting me. In fact, all that did help was the photo-shoot which kind of reset my mind enough to enable me to find some sort of equilibrium. Maybe I will never find out what was the actual cause of my “melt-down” (my wife said half in earnest half joking, that I don´t have enough real worries to be able to focus on such matters), but I did find out that I am not as immune to external negative triggers and will have to pay attention to whatever can get me down to the level when it is hard to remember that life is actually pretty great, even if it is sometimes backed up by the neighbor´s drums or their loud piano (not actual playing but more of punching the keys and making noise) or both or drums and piano and kids jumping and playing basketball in their apartment all at once.
With my rambling done, it is Christmas and it is almost time for the chicken to go into the oven and for me to look at the bright side of my life, which in fact means 90% of my life, while the 10% should not represent an unmanageable obstacle for me – I just need my head clear, “kick myself in the butt” and create something, it is only me holding me back.