Do you ever get the feeling nobody has a map, that we’re all floundering, grasping at straws?
It feels like time is slipping away from me, that there isn’t enough of it to go around. I know that everything I choose to do now is important, will probably be why I am where I am ten years from now, although I have no idea for sure. I want to prove to 40-year old me that I will at least give my dreams a shot, stop poo-pooing them.
I have all of these ideas about what I should have done, how I should be succeeding, what steps I didn’t take…
But if I am honest, I wouldn’t be here without the there. If I had started recording my songs ten years ago, I would have recorded songs that were not as good as the ones I have now. Not sure if that would have been good or bad, but it is what it is.
I can measure myself using everyone I aspire to be as a yardstick, but the problem with this is that there is no other person who has lived the life I have lived, has the specific voice I have and can do what I need to do (whatever that is).
If I didn’t care, it wouldn’t matter. And I think that is the problem I see with all these new-age “accepting of your lot” ideas. I understand not fighting what you can’t fight, i.e, the whole serenity prayer, grant me the courage to accept what I cannot change, etc. etc, but I think that dissatisfaction is a necessary component for change.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m only now finally awake to the world around me, that I spent most of my life in a cloud, detached.
For example, had I never been dissatisfied with what back pain medication was doing to me, I never would have stopped taking it. I had a free ride, a doctor who approved a hefty dose of opiates. I could have continued living in a numb state of non-caring forever, having prescribed uppers to combat the downers, pills to wake me up, put me to sleep. Years could have slipped by without me even being conscious of it.
But I was dissatisfied with that reality. And so I took the necessary steps to change my lot, even though I thought it was impossible to do so, even though it took a long, long time to get better, to get back on my path.
I remember walking around after I stopped taking any substance whatsoever, when the fog finally started clearing from my brain, and feeling like a bundle of raw nerves. So this is what it’s like to feel, I said to myself. It was exciting and frightening.
What I’d learned was that numbing myself led to not only lack of fear or anxiety, but also lack of joy or progress. I was stuck in a grey unfeeling, non-descript world. It was my version of hell.
I don’t now where the line is exactly, the dissatisfaction to acceptance ratio, how much is too much of either, but I know that the world exists in a state of opposition. In all of its disparity and imperfection, it makes perfect sense: can’t have entropy without growth, can’t have happiness without pain, can’t have love without hate.
We seem to live within this binary ideal perspective, either this or that, one or the other, must not have anger, must not have fear, must accept both of them but not encourage them. Maybe anger and fear and pain are all necessary evils balancing out the love and acceptance and joy. If you weren’t angry you grew up without shelter, why would you fight to help others who don’t have shelter? If you weren’t fearful of what would happen if you picked up the bottle again, what would keep you from relapsing into alcoholism?
No person in this world, I don’t think, feels happy non-stop.
I could write a million songs about the loves I’ve lost.
I could write a repeating song about the love I have.
What’s the difference? They all exist. Our lives are here, now, and we can ascribe whatever meaning to them that we want to ascribe. We can focus on the memories we wish to focus on, yet we can’t always stop things from popping in, from affecting us, people from changing us, moments from turning us in different directions.