When I got back to my desk, I managed to focus on work and complete the top item on my priority list. As I finished, all the sucky things of the past day, week. and beyond started hitting me.
This day had sucked: starting with a tantrum from my 7-year old about hating all her shorts, and how I don't care because I buy too many pants (?).
Yesterday had sucked: I found out there was a 70/30 chance a [different] project was going to be cancelled, which would result in me personally laying off 3-5 people after just renewing their contracts last week.
This week had sucked: we finally took a few days vacation as a family, and we each took turns having a stomach bug.
The past two months had sucked: my spouse and I have both been working insane hours. We've also been "revolving-door single parenting" due to work trips (divvying up which weeks we each need to be out of town, so someone could stay home with Princess A); we haven't both been home for over 6 weeks.
While I have been prone to a negativity spiral into depression in the past, this was different. Just behind each negative thought were positive ones (we still got to Princess A's camp in time for the field trip, made the best of our little vacation, and had summer to look forward to). I wasn't distraught, but I couldn't stop my brain from ticking through the list of recent crap. A sort of inventory and explanation of how I arrived at this emotionally exhausted place. The current project was the ginormous and final straw that led me to crying at my desk at 5:30 pm on a Friday.
I felt broken.
Maybe a run would help. I decided to run downtown from work; I wasn't going to be good company to the family anyway and needed to complete a tempo run for my training plan. I figured I could just use the Strava app, but then I realized my Garmin was still in my work backpack from my recent business trip. Though, I'll admit, that barely registered a positive blip in my mood. I went down to the nearby YMCA to change and put my stuff in a locker.
I went outside and navigated the never-ending construction and closed sidewalks, while my Garmin was searching...searching...searching... It was in a funk today, too (or just couldn't find satellite between the tall buildings, whatever :P). Finally ready, I began my loops of the park. I ran my 1 mile warm up, 2 miles tempo, and 1 mile cool down. It wasn't easy, but I finished. I had thought I might work through some of my feelings about the work issues, but it didn't enter my mind on the run. I focused on the music, the people in the park, and, during the harder sections, my breathing.
When I arrived back at the Y, I remembered I had received the perk of free towel service for the summer. As I walked into the locker room, I felt like this towel symbolized the only thing that had gone right today. Overdramatic, I know. But I felt truly grateful to have a clean towel, that I didn't have to launder, so that I could avoid driving home all gross. On the sh*ttiest of days, the little things can be big. The shower felt amazing. It was like the last of the bulls*t washed away, and the feelings of accomplishment at having completed my run sunk in.
I feel human again.
Thirsty, hot, tired, and sad, but human.