In which I ponder my reactions to my life and wonder at the key to joy.
During the last few years of my marriage, when I was depressed and boxed in and miserable, I developed a form of aversion to complacency. (In my defense, at the time my complacency was nearly killing me: I had an unsatisfying relationship, I felt trapped, I had no career to speak of, no artistic outlet, limited spiritual outlet, a day-to-day schedule focused on cooking and cleaning that I loathed, and a hideous panic disorder because of it all.) I’d been in that state for years and had been so busy convincing myself that I had a great life that I was going nutso.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always been an optimist. I’ve always been happy with what I have, be it ever so humble. But. I have finally learned that I am not only an optimist, I am someone capable of making herself sick pretending that she likes a life she really doesn’t.
I love change. Always have. I love travel, I love new jobs, I love new friends and new experiences. The past two years of my life have been change-filled: I left my marriage, I moved across the country, I traveled a lot. It was wonderful.
Now, though, I’ve been living in the same room and working the same job for a year. I’ve had the same boyfriend for six months and we’ve settled into a routine, a schedule. (I sleep at his place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The rest of the week he drops me off at home around 11 or 12 and I sleep there. I’m home on Saturday and am supposed to do my laundry and knitting and surfing and lazing around then.) I’ve been playing with the same band long enough that I’m bored of playing the same songs, I’m bored of the same mistakes, I’m bored of the types of audiences we pull because they’re all ten years older than me.
See, listen to me! My life is awesome and all I can do is bitch. Somewhere deep inside I can feel myself panicking a little: am I really happy or do I just think I am?
I love the freshness of upheaval and change. I like the tension and edginess of it. I like to be utterly engaged in living my life.
I dislike that so many moments of my life lack any kind of depth at all; once you’ve done something often enough it becomes really hard to focus on what you’re experiencing. I can walk all the way to work and not even notice it because I’ve done it so many times. It’s all blending into nothing.
A statement like that might make you think that some spiritual discipline may be in order, that I should perhaps focus more on changing myself rather than the external world around me. On the one hand, I’d agree. But on the other, I learned wariness of even that when I was married: I tried very hard to see marriage as a spiritual path… but instead I lost myself to it. So now I stick to what I know, which is simply that I like change.
I know from experience that I can deceive myself by pretending to be happy, but I know I’m not deceived about my happiness when I’m doing shit like moving halfway across the country or starting a new venture. I think I trust my ability to act more than my ability to react.
Right now, I’m feeling complacent, and it’s scaring me a little. Am I in the right place, doing the right thing? Is life supposed to be this… flat? I’m safe, I’m comfortable, but am I engaged in living? Nah, not so much. I’m embroiled in a routine.
And it’s showing in my attitude. I’m a little more than abrasive now when I’m annoyed. I’m feeling fussy about my schedule. I’ve been standoffish with my boyfriend. I’m tired all the time. I’m feeling irritated about the stuff I’m not getting done (like laundry, room cleaning, cooking in general, and bento-making in particular) and irritated with the stuff I have to do (like my day job and gigs). In short, my attitude sucks.
I’m tempted to chock it up to season change, PMS, and the need for a vacation. But truth be told I just had a vacation and I’m wondering if it’s not just proof that my life is stupid and that I need to do something about it.
But do what? Get a new job? Start new band? Do I need to move again? Meditate more? Change my schedule? Shall I just run about all over the place until I get too old to do so?
I’m only going to get so many breaths. I know what it feels like to be happy and joyful and engaged, and I can’t understand why it can’t be like that more often. Is it me? Is it the world? Are my expecations out of whack?