Mood Management

omoaMy daughter had been looking for a full-time job in New York City.  She recently said to me, “I have mild unemployment depression.”  I told her it was a Quote-of-the-Day. (Happily, she has since accepted a job offer.)

I’ve been going through a bit of negotiating my moods lately too. I’m still carrying guilt and frustration over the demise of Big Mountain Data, while simultaneously facing financial insecurity as I attempt to pivot once again professionally.  I can feel myself slipping into a similar mild depression too.

When I sense I’m starting to get overwhelmed, I take precautions to pro-actively “change my mood.”

Yesterday, I took the afternoon off from client work and job-searching and visited the Orlando Museum of Art.  I’d been wanting to do this since I moved here last year.  The museum was lovely.  Architecturally, it’s more impressive than I expected with a contrastcotton2013 of vaulted, well-lit ceilings  and soft, low-lights for interior exhibits.  There were two featured exhibitions that I particularly loved. The first is this sweet display of sugary goodness: “The Influx Series: Will Cotton.” It instantly elevated my mood by the honesty displayed in how much we all love frivolous confections.  This portrait in particular, “Icing,” was spectacular.

The second exhibit I took a long time with was “Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment.” In a word, wow. Many of these photos captured a palpable sense of the struggle these photojournalists wanted to reveal.  Most were depressing, yet had uplifting messages embedded within.  The series (11 photographers in all) presented a stark contrast to the silliness of my self-pity and sulking that brought me to the museum. There was something about the fact that these photos were taken by women that touched me.  It was deeply moving.  This exhibit is traveling around the U.S. If you happen to be in line to receive it at your local art museum, I highly recommend it.

After immersing myself in art for the afternoon, I stopped to eat in a funky downtown cafe.  I had my laptop with me, and the cafe was playing an 80s channel on Sirius.  I was inspired to write for a few hours, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a world of make-believe that I was creating in my mind.  Before I knew it, it was almost 6pm.  It was a great day, and I accomplished my goal.  I not only changed my mood, I put my troubles in perspective, and came away with a newfound confidence about my potential to make a contribution to the world.