Finding My Reason To Get Up In The Morning
While staying at my parent's house for winter break this past December, one particular day I spent most of the day in bed, sleeping or binge-watching Netflix. My mom came into my room several times encouraging me to get up and do something, help her bake cookies, go on a walk, the list went on. I mostly ignored her, and let myself slip back into sleep. Since being diagnosed with depression about 3 years ago, I still haven't found that perfect solution to not wanting to get out of bed and face the world, but after finally getting up that day and talking to my mom, an idea was sparked.
She asked me, when she isn't there to encourage me, what motivates me to get up in the morning? She very well knew I had slept through numerous classes, and been late to meetings, and work due to my depression. I said well obligations (Not a very good answer), and something that I've been looking forward to. She encouraged me to keep finding reasons to get up, hoping that might help me.
Well upon coming back to Columbus to work at the Orton Geological Museum, a job I have loved since starting back in August, I found a little light, that had always been there but I didn't give it enough credit.
On Tuesday last week, I got up at 7 am and got ready for the day (a little accomplishment, because I am not a morning person) which had been scheduled to teach an informal lesson on rocks, minerals, and fossils at a local community center for about 15 children. Even as I got dressed and put on makeup I didn't feel like Miss Sunshine and thought about when was the earliest time I could get back into bed.
Finally, after loading my little red car with rocks, minerals, fossils, and some ingredients for our activity, I made my way into the community center and was greeted with such excitement by the kids. They didn't care that I barely got up that morning, or that I felt like utter crap about myself that day after something upsetting someone had said to me the night before. They were just so excited that the "fossil lady" was finally here, as they had been waiting all week for my visit! I started my program and began to feel myself come alive. This program was one I had given multiple times before, as I have been educating kids about earth science for several years, but that day was a little different. Instead of acting like the happy, and energetic "Polly the Paleontologist" like I sometimes pretend to be, I was genuinely happy to be there, and happy to see their eyes light up once I brought out a diamond, and a dinosaur egg.
Later that day, when I returned to the museum, a family with 3 very young kids were running around the museum screaming and jumping for excitement at the exhibits. I just stood and stared for a minute watching their joy. I lost myself almost in a daydream, until the middle child, a young boy came up to me and asked me if I worked here, and I said yes. He wanted me to help him with the scavenger hunt we had printed for families. So as I played a game of Hot and Cold with him to find all the fossils and minerals on the list, that same feeling of alive and happy came back.
So, as someone who had spent three years, and a whole summer educating children and always enjoy it, it may seem silly that I am just now figuring out that seeing kids light up at seeing, and understanding geology and paleontology for the first time like I did so many years ago has become my reason for getting up in the morning.
One of my favorite quotes goes "If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself."
So my new years' resolution is to do just that, glow myself, and be the kind of STEM role model that I needed when I was young by pursuing what makes me ridiculously happy geology and paleontology and educating the next generation of scientists.
I am not perfect, and I may never be 100% cured of my depression, but I won't let it stop me from doing the things I have been dreaming about. So if you are someone who struggles with depression, anxiety, or just getting out of bed on a Monday, I encourage you to find your reason or reasons, and pursue it/them with all your heart. And if you are a geoscientist, remember if you want to touch the past, touch a rock, but if you want to touch the future touch a child's life.