I am done with winter. In fact, I feel done with everything. I recently got laid off, have some health problems, and am turning 45. So much in my life is changing and I'm not sure I have the strength to go on. There doesn't seem to be anything to look forward to. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Signed, Feel Like Giving up
Dear Feel Like Giving Up,
Imagine a newborn infant having come into the world in Alaska in the middle of winter, knowing no spring. Thinking that's all there is, the infant might say (if it could speak), "Hey, I don't want to exist in this dark, cold, icy, barren world." You and I would tell the infant, "Just hold on a little longer. Soon it will be spring, a time of light, warmth, and life. You'll see. Don't give up." The infant replies, "Are you crazy!? I don't believe anything will ever get better." If the baby decided to die we would all wail - "what a tragedy!" - knowing that spring were just ahead - if only the child had waited just a bit more everything would have changed - turned around for the better.
Your spring is coming. This is not the end, but the beginning. The Universe has good things in store for your future. The best is yet to come. You must have hope, trust, faith, belief, optimism - whatever word you choose - that Life is always working for you, never against you. Sure we all face tough challenges, i.e. hard long winters, yet a spring always follows. If something isn't going well it's because something better's planned ahead. There's meaning in our trials. For instance, we're stretched and we grow; our negative experience of winter makes the joy of spring more ecstatic.
In my darkest moments, I make a point to find something beautiful in whatever's around me - seeing a flower, appreciating the architecture of an old building, a stranger's smile...Yes, life can be nasty, but it can also be lovely. You can change your mindset or approach to life, focusing on the good. We create what we believe. You're already strong from being a gay man in this country. You have the power to make things ugly or beautiful.