That is the word that could describe what my mood has been lately.  My favorite definition of the word (from is “sober thoughtfulness.”  So often we associate melancholy with depression, but they aren’t actually the same thing.  Although I am far from being a depressed person, I do reflect on my life a lot.  I examine the past, question the future, wonder at what might have been.  I pray, I ponder. 

The future is what trips me up the most.  As a writer, I have an overactive imagination that is hard to keep in line.  And as a speed reader, I am used to reading of people’s lives and reaching their conclusions fast.  But real life doesn’t happen that way.  I’m impatiently waiting to see what the next phase in my life-story will hold, and am unable to shake the feelings of uncertainty because I’m not writing this story.  I don’t have control (although, what control I have over the stories that I do write is questionable as well. Many authors will tell you that stories rarely go the way they anticipated.)grain field

Fall is an easy time to have these moments of “sober thoughtfulness.”  As a farmer’s daughter, I am most inspired by harvest (especially grain harvest.) Now that harvest is over and the ground bare, a sad feeling lingers in my gut.  The weather has turned chilly, the wind nippy…and my thoughts more negative and worrisome.  What if I fall in love with a man who isn’t a farmer? What if I never get a book published? What if my career makes me move and leave the family I love so dearly?

After brooding over these things, I slowly come to my own realization: Achieving our dreams doesn’t mean we arrive where we want to be.  It means we allow ourselves to be happy where we are.  Instead of viewing my dreams as specific little things inside my life, I need to acknowledge that it is life itself.  Being denied certain hopes and goals while still having the strength to wear a smile will allow me to lead a fulfilled life.

I don’t recommend being “melancholy” very often.  Keeping yourself in the future or the past (mentally speaking) denies living in the present.  Fulfilled lives… accomplished dreams…those things are done while living right where you are, not meditating where you want to go.  Yet, occasionally, that self-examination and time of sober thoughtfulness is a good thing.  For the first time in my life, I have realized that I can be happy wherever I am.  I don’t have to marry a farmer, I do possess the strength to move far from home, and I am a writer whether or not I ever get published. 

These are freeing realizations.  I can close this period of melancholy in my life with confidence, knowing that it will enable me to live a more fulfilled life in the present.  But what about you?  What periods of sober thoughtfulness are you reflecting on?