“I’m 45 now, so I’m either halfway through a healthy life or almost done with a not-so-healthy life.” — Louis CK
Am I afraid of progress or of what comes after that?
Having a birthday coming up, I wondered about my life goals and plans. It actually hit me when I looked in the mirror a couple of days ago, not that I was more disgusted than usual, but I thought “is that how I expected to look like at 29? What do I expect to look like when I’m 30? Or 50?”
It wasn’t as much a memento mori moment rather than a short idea. But as usual, it stuck with me. And a couple of days later, the same thought still echoing over my dubstep damaged hearing nurtured an even more frightening thought: What do I want to do with my life? I’m sure by now I should know. And, guess what, I do, so that’s actually not that bad. But I still think of my life, at least subconsciously, as that thing, the thing I’m preparing for. The thing I’m waiting for to happen. As if I was only in preparation of something. This, again, struck me. How similar it sounds to that sentence by (I think?) Hitchens, “we don’t have bodies, we are bodies”.
Growing up seemed to prepare me, most of all, not for being grown up, but for preparing myself for things. And now that I actually can do all the things I want to do, I often find it a habit hard to shake.
Even though I want to be the opposite, I am still totally in for the product of my endeavors, rather than the production of it. I like having things finished. So that I’m free to… start other things, maybe. Yet with many other things that I wish to finish I find myself procrastinating.
In a coffee chat I had with S the other day I thought of the phrase that I picked up at some point, not sure where, that sometimes nurturing a problem feels easier than solving it, because the current problem at least is understood. Who knows how terrifying future problems might be?
Am I relying on things I can’t fix for reassurance? How fucked up is that? I wouldn’t accept such behavior from myself if it concerned my job decisions. If I found myself scheming to get back to my old sucky job, only because I knew the ways in which it sucked, rather than look for a new one, I’d hope to still be able to build up the courage to hit myself with a brick real hard.
Yet, when I think of writing, the thing that I want to do, I often find myself inhibited, because I don’t know what will come next. It isn’t the blank page that scares me, it is the pile of blank pages behind it.
But pages can only be filled one by one, at least if you want to fill them with something other than abstract expressionism.
So while I feel safe with the problems I know, it doesn’t change the fact that they are problems, or tasks, or things on my to-do list. The only meaningful approach is to tackle them head-on, thereby risking a possible fall.
[Picture courtesy of _bsch]