Up (to where, from where?)
The last few times I’ve found myself staring at my macbook, wanted to write, or more likely, needing to write, I’ve been in a pretty dark place. 2016 was supposed to be THE year. The year that I finally had it. That elusive idea of contentment, or overall happiness.
I came into the new year looking at the prospects of health that I actually wanted, building a relationship with a woman that I actually could see a future with, contributing at a job that I loved day in and day out, all while living in a city that felt like my place. Travel was on the horizon, my career looked like, just that, a career.
A breakup, some down times at work. Then stumbles. Then darkness. Then fear. Then lost.
Then a few months of scrambling. Sprinting mentally from worry to plan, from plan to feeling, from self judgement to understanding that would leave before you could acknowledge the certainty of your thoughts. Physical scrambling as well; moving from place to place, and traveling without regard. Just trying to experience new and exciting because it was the only way you could feel positive.
The same travel that was exciting in January, became a necessity in the Spring. The experiences were in no way tainted, if anything, my lack of worry or fear for any sort of future lead to experiencing everything I could.
But the running wasn’t just a cheap metaphor, I was actually getting away from anything that mattered. I’d drink to have fun, and then keep going after everyone stopped, unless I’d find a lost soul in my situation that could keep the train moving forward and downward. I’d travel to a new city because sitting in my living room lead to a racing mind. The thoughts you’d sit with would be depressing in the moment, and would lead to horrific anxiety about the future.
Nothing mattered, nothing was more upsetting, nothing was that exciting. For someone who lives life in the extremes of emotion, this is the worst place. It’s not like you are stable and leveled out at the top of contentment. You hover in a place much lower, as if you were rappelling with a rope that’s too short to reach all the way down to rock bottom.
Outwardly you try. You try to smile and laugh. You find hilarity in life, and sarcastic dark humor envelops your mindset, as that is the only way you can find joy. You still make people around you have fun, but the toll on those closest to you is harshest. They have to hear the same things, about the same shitty parts of your job, the same worries about your health, and the same questions around your heartbreak.
You try to do small healthy things. Build them up and it will be better. Do one more thing a day, and it will change things. Then you have something good happen at your job. Then you meet someone new who intrigues you, a romantic spark is lit in a cave that you thought was sealed. That doesn’t work but you remember how feeling alive doesn’t just mean feeling the side of emotions built up with despair and pain, and you remember how ecstatic you can be.
You figure out that things weren’t all what you thought. that that happiness you felt wasn’t an illusion. Things really were that good in your life. Things can be that way again.
Then you realize you’re not there yet, and it’s going to take some work to get back. You realize that this has been the cycle of your life for the past 15 years, pretty much since you’ve been an “adult.”
In those times, you would take the feeling you have right now, that feeling of excitement, and actual planning for the good things that can be on their way and embrace it with open arms. Only after those plans didn’t work out, and eventually things turned south, you would look at this as shocking. How did this turn? Why am I here again?
This time though, you think, “why not enjoy the ride up?” Why not try to just get a little higher at the top, and then hold on to a little of what helps you get there? Why not enjoy it now, and enjoy it tomorrow, as opposed to expecting to enjoy a future that may never come?
When you have no idea where you’re going, it’s scary. But, that’s also where everyone is in life. When you have no idea where you’re coming from, though, and how you got to places you’ve already been; well that, is just confusing and somewhere no one wants to be.
Where will you be tomorrow? Next year? Whenever? You don’t know, but you know where you are right now. How about enjoying that?