Lately I’ve been thinking about my life in absolute terms. There was a time when I simply glided through life without much thought about where I was going or what I was doing. I took the easy route. Then about 20 years ago I took stock, realized I didn’t like where I was heading and made some drastic changes to my life. I worked out some specific goals – which I confess at the time I naively envisioned would unfurl more quickly and differently than they have. For most of this time I’ve been deeply engrossed in and focused on these goals/dreams pretty much to the exclusion of all else – okay, an exaggeration – much other important stuff has happened along the way to shift my focus – not all of it voluntary.
Lately, I’m taking stock from a different perspective. Perhaps I’m thinking this because my age is weighing heavily on me – a mental weight only not a physical one… at the moment (knock on wood). I’m realizing, when you get right down to the essence of our lives all we really have is our selves, our associations and our actions. By our selves I mean our internal state and physical health, by associations I mean family and friends and by actions I mean things that we do or make and the legacies we leave behind.
Everything else – literally everything can be classified as dross or detritus. All the hyper-activity of our lives, all the lust for goods and much of the anguish is simply excess filling the gaps. When I take stock like this, at first I feel an elated calm as I see how simple and uncomplicated my life truly is – that I can “let go”of much of my concern and upset. But then I feel immensely sad. No sad isn’t quite right – I feel a great aching emptiness within me – an angst – a dejected sorrow that feels way too close to the inescapable black hole of depression – and that scares the shit out of me. Once sucked into that downward spiral there’s no way out. I think / I hope, I feel this aching absence only because I feel directionless without the goals that have driven my life for so long now.
For too long I’ve been filling the gaps with useless trash and other people’s hype. I’ve glossed over the emptiness inside me – tried to patch it with other goals and other activities. I’ve over-done it in my fervor and eroded the true essence of my life. I’m torn in too many directions – I’m stressing out. I’ve ignored myself, my friends, my family and my legacy. I need to turn my gaze back to the absolute pillars of my life and disregard the nattering gap fillers. I need to clear the clutter.
I’ve got some serious housekeeping to do.
PS: Having written this I’m feeling a calm clarity of purpose I haven’t felt in a long time. I was really afraid I was sinking into a depression but now I don’t think so. Good news.