116 // Understanding

A bit of a better start than I had yesterday. The week feels long already, but as the day progresses, and items on the list are either completed or canceled, time seems to pick up speed and I feel more and more motivated. I feel calmer and calmer.

Some of the things I worried about are not an issue and some things I thought would drag out are going to finish faster than expected. It may turn out to be a day worth being present for after all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about space and time lately and how each often feels like the other and how we will never have enough of both.

No matter how long I live, it won’t be long enough. No matter how many hours I can have to myself a day, I always want more. Space is limited too. No matter where I am there are other people, and even where I could tolerate their presence, I hardly get a break from the social expectations. When they enter, you must greet them. When they ask, you must answer. When they laugh, you laugh along, and when they cry you have to feel their pain too.

Humans expect you to mirror them, compliment them, or help them see. Other people expect you to belong to them and to make their world right. We forget other people have their own worlds, as real and all-encompassing as our own. We ask too much of each other sometimes.

I used to think I was an extrovert because of how easily I open up to people, make friends, and the sense of connection and community I cultivate but I never marked the way I feel irritable and exhausted after and how resistant I feel until I have time to recover. As I get older that exhaustion seems to set in earlier and earlier.

My desire to be alone confuses me and conflicts with my desire to be with people. It confuses my interest in people. I think I’d like to live outside of society, and simply observe for a time all the things people do and try to work out why.

By understanding others, perhaps I could understand myself a little more. I’ve been a person for just over 37 years now and I still have little idea of what that means. I’m sure by the time I work out even an inkling of an answer my lifespan will be near its expected end.

Existence is a long series of strange and confounding paradoxes.

116 // This Incurable Thing

I’m on shaky emotional ground this morning though this morning isn’t out of what I am calling the new new new normal.

The thought occurred to me on the way to work this morning that there is just never enough time to do all the crying you need. I know this sounds rather sad, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m ok, but sometimes getting through life, enduring this incurable thing we call the human condition, just requires an occasional emotion cleansing. I’m long overdue and in desperate need.

Perhaps, like all things in our time of high productivity and unbridled consumerism, it has to be scheduled. Time blocked, with reminders on and timers set. Time between meetings, errands, meals, visits with family and friends, dinner, dishes, and bedtime to put on a sad song and let your heart truly break for yourself, your loved ones, and the whole world of struggle and suffering.

Time to mourn and time to grieve. Time to lament all that time that’s been wasted, the time that’s been lost, the time we’ll never even have. Time to wish and regret. Time to be angry, to be confused, and simply to be sad.

We work so hard to avoid all those weak, negative, and useless emotions, but I don’t believe we truly ever rid ourselves of them. They bubble below the surface, waiting for the most insignificant and insidious trigger to jump out and surprise us.

No, better to find time to feel them regularly. Better to make time or it will happen when you least want it to, I promise. And don’t worry, after you’ve screamed it out and soaked your shirt with tears, you’ll do the same thing we all do. You’ll take a good look in the mirror and remember who you are, where you are, and what must be done. You’ll clean yourself up and get on with the hard work of living life from emotional purge to emotional purge, as if neither the pain nor the purge ever happened.

Until I can make time though, I’m trying to remember that though life is generally stressful and often terrifying right now, not every minute is made of chaos and catastrophe. There can be—no, there are—moments of calm, security, and even joy. It’s hard to seize them when they come along, though. I guess when you are carrying the past with one hand and clinging to the future with the other, there’s nothing left for you to hold the present with, you know?