At the end of nigh on two years of a stormy emotional reality slurry –recurring panic, black tarry abject fear, despair, loneliness, erosion of faith, disgust with modernity, and sundry other bruises– I got a job.
More secure in my ability to continue functioning like an independent adult, I vaulted off the fresh toehold of employment toward healthier habits, and a renewed drive to steer my curious, outlier, solitary life toward some sort of ideal, which has really been a moving target that I have been making up as I go along.
Pell-melling along this new path I have been laughing at two truths that have popped up.
One: My life is not visibly at all the way I would have catalog-shopped for it. When I look around at people I love and admire and look up to, I see that I have constantly made different choices, and those choices have led me someplace separate from where they are. And I find that frightening, and uncomfortable, and difficult every single day. But stubbornly, and even terrified as I am, I just wouldn’t change a thing. When I try, jumping toward everyone else’s brass ring of a life just fits even wronger than I feel on a daily basis (and yes, I know that ‘wronger’ is not a word). Invisibly my life is a raging success. I am closer to growing into the human being I’ve wanted to be since I was too young to know what that meant, than I ever would have thought possible. And I haven’t quit. And I don’t even want to anymore. And most importantly, better than almost anything else I’ve ever done, I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to be younger. I don’t need to recapture my youth. There’s no heavenly illuminated just-that-moment-when that I need to go back to, or pine for to splash sunshine on my day. I made this bed. It might be ugly, but I’m still gonna lie in it and get some rest so I can go another round and build it again.
And that attitude (pleasantly) surprises me, because,
Two: In all this reflection it’s become pretty clear that I was right about who I am, and who I want to be around, and what kind of life I need, when I was too young, obedient, and self-esteem bankrupt to go for it.
And that’s the kinda thing that can build regret with a capital R. My only question is, had I been able to give in and trust that passion then, would I believe in love now?