I hope you will excuse a cliché metaphor. I really hate them, but I find myself using them a lot lately. Bear with me, I guess.

Recently I’ve been feeling like I climb the same damn hill many times in one day.

I do love hiking. I basically haven’t been on a hike in a year. I would be so happy to go climb a literal hill tomorrow if I felt physically up for it.

But this is not a fun hill, most of the time. It’s not all bad. People join me for a little while and I have good moments, but for the most part I’m just trudging on, sliding back down, and agonizing over the fact that the view right now seems to be exactly the same as yesterday’s, even though I thought I’d made more progress. I’m carrying a lot of shit with me. I’m really tired.

That’s the metaphor. It’s overused but it works.

A few days ago I woke up feeling happy. And it really threw me off because I hadn’t even realized that I’d forgotten that feeling entirely.

I have plenty of happy moments; I’m not faking when I laugh with friends, and I make sure to do things that I enjoy. But waking up happy, for no particular reason? I can’t remember the last time that happened.

It didn’t last long. I came down very hard a few hours later. But I was reminded of what lightness feels like. I feel it a little bit today, too, even right now. I don’t want to expect to much. I wonder how much it coincides with the springiness of the past few days here in Massachusetts.

These days I spend most of my conscious moments monitoring how my body feels, because it’s a cycle. My mental stress is exacerbating physical pain that keeps me stressed. While I’m working on my computer, I’m half-using mindfulness techniques to try and relax my neck and shoulders, because my muscles are so tight that my ears are ringing. I meditate on the train on the way to and from work. In the morning when everyone else at work is drinking coffee to wake up, I’m drinking herbal teas that are supposed to help you fall sleep. Every day I do deep stretches using a heating pad to help my muscles unclench. Yoga consists of my lying on the floor with props for a few hours. Constant de-stress mode is, honestly, rather stressful.

My life has changed a lot. I finished college two years ago. If I were in school now, it just wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t be able to manage it. I don’t think it is entirely bad. But it is very new. And, at the same time, it feels like it has been a really long time.

Today’s warmth is a scary reminder of climate change, but I’m so ready for spring. I think warm weather will help. I’d like to go hiking for real.