Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Coming Up for Air

on March 22, 2015

You all don’t know me that well (yet), but it is incredibly hard for me to admit when I am not feeling “up” (just ask my sister; I am a stubborn kind of “up” aka happy). Considering this blog is called “A Breath of Fresh Air”, I have been a little apprehensive about talking about my downs since we only just met. But, in promising you a fresh perspective, I also promised authenticity. Part of authenticity to me is sharing with you when I am up, which (luckily and with strong commitment to) is most of the time. But, part of it is also showing you that I can be a little down and sometimes vulnerable.

Here’s the thing I finally realized – admitting to you that I sometimes get the blues in no way suddenly makes me a negative ninny. I can experience lows without tarnishing my positive outlook and optimistic nature. I have an opportunity today to earn your trust by offering a real truth to you and to myself: that even the up people sometimes have down days, glasses half full and all.

I have actually been working on this (really through this) for the past 10 days or so now. And it occurred to me during this time that on my journey to become a better version of myself each day, that not confronting and sharing how I feel here in this blog isn’t breathing fresh air at all; it’s rather the opposite, stinking up the place with bullshit.

So getting down into it … I know it is not possible to be happy all the time; that to experience and appreciate the ups you have to know downs. That said, when I do have my downs, I don’t like to talk about it. In my head, my happy-or-bust Gemini twin tells me to keep this emotion inside until it dissipates; that the world is better off without my song of (not so constant) sorrow. I consider my optimistic nature to be one of my best features, and it is something I am very proud of and want to share with the world (which is why my blog was born). So when my heart doesn’t pump the life is good / don’t’ worry be happy / the sun will come out tomorrow blood for whatever reason, I actually get angry at myself and retreat from others; I will let it all out and go as far as to tell you that being true blue can actually make me feel like an ungrateful selfish asshole.

Even writing this I realize I am being too harsh on myself; this is exactly why I am making myself write about it. The truth is that while we can choose our attitude for how we approach each day – glass half full or half empty- but sometimes we just can’t help how we feel, and my rational Gemini twin knows that working through periods like this is more productive than putting on a show to really no one’s benefit.

This is where my first breath of fresh air starts; I am sharing with you a side of myself that isn’t my best feature to let myself be human and show myself some compassion.

I usually get like this when my life gets stagnant. My mind gets restless. I feel underwhelmed and not productive enough, or maybe there’s nothing that feels close enough to look forward to and get excited about. During these times, I get stuck on my big world future problems and focus on what I don’t have (yet) versus enjoying what I do have. I get frustrated and sometimes even jealous of other people.

Ick. Honest but ick.

And with no place left to go but up, let me get to the good part and share with you what I did to get out from under the weight of my still world and come up for air.

This time, I know exactly what happened and when to cause this downward spiral. The truth is that I was on such a “high” from finally posting my first blog entry (after too much time spent talking versus doing) that in the aftermath of that my spirit came down a bit hard. So, it is not surprising that my surfacing process began when I started to write this (been drafting since the train ride into work on Wednesday). Pleasantly surprised in digging into this “down” air, I began feeling inspired, and that caused me to start taking action instead of having reactions. I put a “Ripple” in my still water (

I bought tickets (and have since went) to see Gregg Allman (he was amazing by the way).

I wrote down and submitted all my requests for time off (starting 4/17!), which helped bring the reality of upcoming getaways closer. It felt good to set an “out of office”, even if it was for 3 weeks from now.

I stopped looking ahead too far and started looking at where I am at today and all I have accomplished. I know that my feelings of being under-whelmed and not productive enough are not because I am not busy. We are all busy, but I am surely not busy enough doing what I enjoy doing. Some of this can’t be helped immediately, in that we all have to make a living and for me, what I do for that day to day is uninspiring. BUT, that’s why I am in school, and that’s credit I deserve to enjoy, because I don’t like where I am at so I stepped up and am doing something about it. So, somewhere I think I just got lost in between where I want to be and where I am now, versus enjoying the present. I needed to reel this back in and celebrate where I am today.

Last, but best, I gave back; yesterday I spent my morning painting (myself and) a sensory room at Merryvale Academy with Hands On Suburban Chicago. There’s no better way to stop taking yourself too seriously than to do something for someone else. Hands On is a NFP whose mission is “to inspire, equip and mobilize people to volunteer and take action that builds vibrant and prosperous communities”. I am now committed to being one of those people and help make the world a better place. (

This is how I came up for air and repacked my world into a version I can enjoy again.

Cup still half full, fresh air abundant; soul un-burdened and better for it.

Thanks for listening.


(important note: I am lucky enough that for me, being blue is just a temporary state of mind; for others that suffer from the disease of depression it is clearly not, and that disease is NOT what is being discussed here).

6 responses to “Coming Up for Air

  1. Maggie O'Connor says:

    Love the honesty. If we don’t have our down days- the brightness of tomorrow would not be as bright. So when Mr. Blues sings his sad song, we have to just hum until tomorrow. The theme song from Annie is always a good song to play in your head.


  2. Mike says:

    Always great perspective! Thank you!!


    • jpearl19 says:

      Thanks for reading and for the feedback – much appreciated 🙂


      • Dr. Ken Trzaska says:

        Jen, An intriguing post. I am reminded that there is always a first step to greatness and to progress from your post. Whether you paint a wall or end up staring in to the blue before taking that next step it is the process and the acknowledgement of your value and ability to do great things that is an important knowingness to embrace. Prof T


  3. I enjoyed your post Jen and found it very inspiring. We all feel stuck at times, and I love how you found ways to bring yourself up by living in the present.


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