Change is hard. The malaise runs deep inside me. It’s going to take a LOT to change my mental habits and outlook enough to make some positive improvements in my life. The ditch I’ve been in for so long is deep and wide. I’ve learned to get by and I’ve learned to survive, but I am so used to endless gray and an eternal tunnel minus the proverbial light at the end of it that I really have lost what it means to be a positive, goal-setting person. I talk a good game sometimes, but the reality of it is that things like hope and belief are nothing but distant glimmers on the horizon to me. One day before Christmas at work, a big hung decorative sign spelling out “Hope” literally fell to the floor at my feet where I stood. And I know I had a look on my face like an eternally beat-down sitcom character- I actually thought as it happened I needed to look into the camera with that look as “Irony Alert” flashed along the bottom of the screen. As much as I am attempting to wipe the slate clean and begin anew, I feel like there’s a giant gash in my soul- a big, gaping hole with Arctic air blowing thru it. It’s a feeling of both pain and emptiness- a feeling that is as attached to me just as much as my shadow is. I’ve learned to put on this face, and I’ve developed layers of thick skin and distraction to keep me from getting too close to the gravity of the black hole pit inside me. I WANT to change- I NEED to change. But it’s just me. And I’m not sure if I have the strength to turn this thing around. It’d be nice to have a few more shoulders at the wheel, but that’s not my reality. All I can do is hope for tiny, incremental progress day by day and not focus too much on what the compass needle says.