Yesterday I was sitting in the Chicago airport eating a hot dog (Chicago style of course). I didn’t have headphones on. I wasn’t watching TV, working on my computer or doing anything on my iPad. I was just eating and thinking about life and it was so exquisite. That moment was so…real. And so rare. Then I got sad because that isn’t normal for me. I wanted to write about that unique moment but the obvious fallacy was that in pursuit of capturing it, I would destroy it. So I just sat there and today I am writing.
I am anxious most times. Someone the other day described a feeling they had like you’re never fulfilled and anything you do is a means to an end, not a finishing point in and of itself. They also acutely described never feeling like its ok to relax. I relate with all those things, especially the one about never being able to relax. That’s not to say I don’t relax. But even when I do, I don’t. Even when I’m horizontal and watching TV, my mind is scanning the earth and considering what I haven’t done yet, what I want to do and what I should do. That sounds too constructive. It would be better if I just said “My mind is somewhere else.” So is that really relaxing? Why do I always feel like wherever I am is temporary and less important than where i am going…even if I’m not going anywhere?
(I started four sentences in the last paragraph before any of them were complete.)
I’m not satisfied with anything I do. I can’t imagine a world where people used to work one job until retirement. And as much as I long for a less stressful work scenario, one where I am done at five and have no responsibilities at night or on weekends…I don’t really think I could manage that. When I do have those rare days without deadlines, I usually implode and get nothing done. I just exist. Vacations are good – for a finite period of time. But then I’m wondering about everything else in the world. My brain just…departs.
I’m also constantly convinced that everything in my life will come to an end in a premature and horrific way. Another tragedy will hit my children. I’ll eventually reach a point where I won’t have a pay check and won’t be able to provide. My wife will leave, my marriage will end. There is a multiplying cell of cancer somewhere in my body that, in time, will eventually wrap itself around of my organs and squeeze. It’s all irrational, yes I get this. But also understand that it’s all very real in my head, too. The logic of irrationality is tragically eclipsed by the fear of impending dread to the extent that I can’t sleep at night, to the point where I can’t be calm unless I have a few drinks, or sleepy time tea, or Advil PM or… The strength of logic isn’t built for combat. Not for the war inside my head anyway.
It’s a terrible condition to be able to detail feelings of this nature but not have the strength and skill to intervene, at least not in a way that’s constructive. I look forward to the floating windows of calm and clarity but realize there isn’t anything I can do to facilitate their arrival. They hit me when they hit me. I used to write about ‘sparking’. That was when my creative, my conscious and my focus would have an impromptu collision. I’d sit down and write for hours and hours…sometimes all night. It’s such a rare occurrence these days. I never write anything good because I just can’t focus.
Hate it. I want to be calm.