I’ve been away from my life for a time now. I’ve been busy trying on other lives, other anxieties, and other pleasures. I’ve spent time remembering the people I might have been and forgetting all the reasons why I’m not.
All that is to say I have had a long summer of hard work, delightful travels, and exhilarating adventures but the summer is winding down now, though with this blazing heat you might never know it, and something is calling me back to reality—my reality. It turns out that all those other lives aren’t meant for me. They are only costumes to slip in and out of for a bit of excitement and spectacle. I hope to slip into others still next summer and every year after.
I’ve begun to think of my life as a cycle of seasons, and the summer sun has always beckoned me out and away from myself. I am a citizen of the world and in love with all of humanity. I want to be where the people are and I want to want all the same things they do. The season is for soaking up the experience of living and shoring up enough stimulation to carry me through the dull and dreary winter.
With the school year beginning again in just over a week, and my work schedule forcing me back to regular and routine, I find myself returning to the internal and the intellectual. I’ve, unprompted and quite by surprise, picked up reading again and rummaged and rooted through desk drawers for notebooks that have been buried since spring.
Life is a cycle of seasons, a going out and a returning to the self with a clearer understanding and a deeper love and appreciation not for who I dreamt I might be, but for who I am only just learning that I really am. You have to see for yourself that who you already are is the best version of yourself there is. It’s the long way to self-love, but it is the most fun you can have while healing.
“A degree of regret may sometimes be helpful: it can help us to take stock of errors and avoid the worst of the pitfalls next time. But runaway self-hatred serves no useful purpose whatsoever; it is, in its masochistic way, an indulgence we can’t afford.
We may be foolish, but this doesn’t single us out as particularly awful or unusual, it only confirms that we belong to the human race, a fact for which we deserve limitless sympathy and compassion.”
I can hear the fireworks going off around the neighborhood again. I guess it’s that time of year. I haven’t been sleeping well lately and between the sudden summer heat and the nightly displays of patriotism, I’m sure I won’t sleep well again until August…
I’ve decided not to go into work tomorrow since we have the walkthrough and it’s easier to stay home than to rush home for the dog beforehand. I want to stay up late since I know I don’t have to get up early but I’m trying to be mindful of what my body needs and to practice self-care while my stress levels are so high. I’m leading by example and by need. The stress is affecting our health and it would be a shame to end up in the ER or to rack up any medical bills before the big day.
So, it’s back to basics. We’re going to bed on time, drinking lots of water, meditating, and going for walks. We’re eating meals, eliminating snacks, and getting away from the T.V. more. We’re holding each other accountable to prevent procrastination and guilt. We’re looking out for each other, being patient with ourselves, and accepting what is out of our control.
I’m surprised by how much I’ve come to enjoy my time alone. Of course, I miss my girlfriend, and the dog is here to provide a sense of security, but the silence rather than being unsettling is quite calming and comfortable.
I used to hate being confined to my thoughts but slowly I’m becoming one of my own favorite people. I’m enjoying my own company and seeing the value in companionship with myself. Me and myself have finally, it seems, come to a place of understanding, non judgement, and embarked on a burgeoning friendship.
I have never actually lived alone. I went from my mother’s home as a teenager, to living with my cousins, to living with roommates, to living with my now fiance and for almost 17 years since. I’ve never been on my own, but I’ve never felt that I had missed out on anything.
Lately, I have been trying something new. I’ve been trying to be more accepting of myself, my perspective, and my emotions and to allow my feelings to flow more freely and without judgement. Since I’ve started practicing such radical acceptance, I’ve found it harder to balance who I am as a person against who I am as a half of one whole.
Sometimes the hardest (though by far the most rewarding) part of being a human is never truly belonging to yourself alone. I suppose this balancing act is a part of all relationships between any two people and the people they truly are deep down inside. Maybe we are all made up of such halves piled on top of one whole who never really got to be.