Saturday, December 3, 2011
Living V. Being Alive
Since I was a kid I have thought a lot about living versus having a life, or living versus being truly alive. I think my earliest memory of this an articulated thought was at around 12, when I realized my father was sort of living dead (no offence Dad; I found my peace). Walking around, seemingly alert, yet virtually (if not completely) disengaged from life and the things that bring life, such as joy and love. Zombies are cool now but, still, I imagine that being a zombie is not such great gig.
Anyway, in revisiting unfinished business on yet another level, I have come to realize that I am trying to learn how to be alive. In what I will now refer to as my life as a material girl (fun, yet seriously) I though I had it figured out. Set objectives, plan the work and work the plan. (I could probably write Getting Things Done for dummies… or for procrastinators, as the case may be….Or maybe Planning for Perpetual Dreamers.) I was figuring it out, I was building a career, I took some nice vacations, I was having a good time, and then it started again. The thoughts of there being more to life that stuff. Certainly there is more to life than stuff. Pride in accomplishment is important, finding work that you like is crucial, but glimpses of emptiness started making me anxious. SERIOUSLY anxious! Like the kind of anxious you get when you look at the decisions you made a decade ago, you realize the chain of events that led you to where you are and you think, “Oh Fuck! Now what?!” Not that I had made bad decisions (thankfully), but when I made them, I didn’t know I would flash back this self that wants fulfillment on an (as yet) incomprehensible level. I thought I had found what I was looking for. I had good relationships, good work, love and fun. What else is there? Almost everybody I know is, or seems to be, satisfied with that. There is no yearning beyond that…at least for them. For me, it seems that there is another level to fulfillment that I don’t yet understand. I have often thought that I over-complicate things and that life is simple if I make it so. After much effort, and a good period of time where I had myself convinced, it is clear to me that there is more. Although some appreciate where I am coming from, I think few really get me. I thought I had succeeded in becoming a normal person, but once again I find myself well outside the norm.
I wish to feel alive, as I once did as a material girl…only probably better. I am going through the motions of life, but it’s tiring in a way that living a lie can be. I sense that fulfillment will be found when I wake up to something I am currently too afraid to admit to myself; I don’t know for sure, but it’s a strong feeling. I am no stranger to change / transition. I have woken up to things before, let things go, suffered loss and moved forward knowing that the next version of myself would be a better one… but this particular realization is elusive. Perhaps I am not yet ready, or perhaps I don’t yet see how I get in my own way.