So I have to admit that I hate this time of year. Loathe, detest and fear it. Just wake me up in May, or since I’m living in Virginia now, make that early April…

The days start to close in and I feel trapped, forced to be introspective and face things I really don’t want to face. It happens in waves, or layers, or stages, call it what you will, it is a progressive thing (for which I suppose I should be grateful).

Over the summer I was consumed by my job and other external forces…. like my other job. No time left over to wonder about balance or fulfillment or meaning. It was all about 80 hour weeks, double pay for overtime and $40 Sheetz gift cards for every extra 8 hours worked. So work I did. It’s a great form of self medication (and I don’t think I could ever manage to pop Vicodin without a chaser like my current favorite bad boy House… besides, I think Vicodin is the stuff that makes me itch. I hate to itch.) Regardless, I had no time or energy or desire to sit and contemplate anything other than the current email in my inbox at work or the traffic on my commute. Well, there were the gas prices, but, hey – I was earning gas cards!

So then the overtime tailed off a bit, I was confined to a darkened room with a multi-day migraine (the 5th in 5 months, notice a trend here?), then I had some legit time off to go to DC with my daughter for a few days for her birthday. Enjoyed the break, but began to feel antsy, trouble sleeping – strange bed, right? Maybe… We really did have a great time. Visited museums, the zoo, wandered around Union Station admiring the architecture, took a Duck tour (amphibious vehicle as opposed to Donald or lame). I love spending time with Sarah and generally love to hang out, but I was feeling guilty. I was not producing.

Four days after my return from my vacation, I had more scheduled time off for knee surgery. Now I had been looking forward to this for weeks for a few reasons. First and foremost, my knee was really bothering me and I wanted it fixed. I was living on ibuprofin and Pepsi Max (perhaps not a House worthy combination, but it suited my needs) during the day and OTC sleeping meds @ night. Time for surgical intervention.

Reason number two I was looking forward to the time off was so I could “catch up”. Have you ever considered the idiocy of that phrase when used in conjunction with ones life? Good God people, this is not a DVR, you can’t pause live life! (Quite honestly, I’m not sure how you can pause live TV either, but what the hell, they say it works…)

OK, catch up. This brings me to the point where I am acknowledging that I am not where I should be or need to be or want to be or some combination of all three. The annual pilgrimage to self torture through self analysis has begun. I’m not where I should be, however, if you ask me where I should be or want to be, I’m not likely to be able to give you much of an answer. Not at this time of year anyway. During the spring and summer, I’ll tell you that I’m where I’m supposed to be, everything works out for the best and everything happens for a reason. Looking at my summer self at this time of year, I’m just glad my name doesn’t have an “i” in it, I might be compelled to dot it with a heart (if this blog had sound, you would hear gagging noises, so just plug in imaginary ones here to replicate a multi-media experience.) No, all the serenity and peace and acceptance of the sunny months must be affecting folks somewhere south of the equator at the moment, cause it sure as hell has left me high and dry.

What I’ve got now is, well, for lack of a better word: angst. I know, I know, angst is for artists and California or Manhattan dwellers with high priced shrinks and parents who are still responsible for their adult children’s inability to form a loving relationship even though they’re now in their 50’s. (Insert more gagging sounds here for full experience). No, I’m not talking about the artsy-fartsy kind of angst. Here is a definition I copied from Google: ” A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression”. See? Angst is just a garden variety crappy feeling for the less-well-heeled among us, it doesn’t discriminate, it’ll mess with anybody. Take heart — you, too can enjoy angst in all its glory, even on your meagre wages.

So, where does that leave me, the alleged heroine of this little fable? And where is the moral? How the hell should I know? That’s the whole point. Every year at this time, I feel like I’ve been dropped in the middle of a huge room blindfolded. My “true path”, where all my dreams come true, lies in one (and only one) direction, all I have to do is find it. Miss by even one degree and wander around forever, knowing it’s there somewhere, I just can’t find it.

Have you ever seen “50 First Dates”? (If not, go rent it, I’m not going to go through the whole thing here) I kind of feel like Lucy, except instead of every morning, I’m finding myself back at the same place every fall. Fortunately, unlike Lucy, I haven’t actually been diagnosed with brain damage. This is a good thing and a bad thing, at least she had an excuse.