I need to retool this goal, or at least explain it better. Everything I’ve done on 43things.com so far – everything I plan to do – is part of a larger effort to “remake my crummy life.”
So, you ask, why did I feel it necessary to include this very unspecific goal in my list of very specific things I hope to accomplish in the weeks and months ahead? Brace yourselves.
If I recall correctly I was (GASP!!!) depressed and down on me when I wrote it, my sole motive being to confess – out loud – how much I felt like a failure in that precise moment. I’m having those same feelings now. (Do you sense a pattern here?)
Why I should want to make such a public confession to an anoymous body of strangers in the first place says a LOT about me, I think. What does it say? I want your pity. I want you to focus your attention on me and say, “There, there, now, things will get better,” or soothing words to that effect.
Of course, you don’t know things are going to better anymore than I do. Things might get better; it’s equally possible they might not. No matter how much I want it, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many people are pulling for me, my life may always be, on some level, crummy.
My daughter may not improve enough to leave the hospital; I may never get another job in journalism again, or, in fact, any other reasonably well paying, satisfying job; my son may remain “lost,” a kid groping for direction while simultaneously partying himself into a stupor with his equally lost chums.
This is my life. My crummy life.
The key to happiness, according to the Buddha, is to give up on being attached to particular outcomes, to sublimate the Ego, or tame it, so it no longer strives for specific results but sees the beauty of life just as it is. I understand the theory, but do I feel it? No. I could meditate for months on end, and I doubt I’d ever feel it.
I read some lines on an old theater building the other day, above the Doric coulmns that adorn the entrance. The words are those of the theater’s namesake, a famous 18th century preacher, Horace Bushnell: “Power moves in the direction of hope.” The words touched me. I wish I had belief in something outside myself, or the self reliance, to feel hope. That virtue has always has been hard for me to muster.
If ol’ Horace Bushnell were here now, I’d have a question for him, a real puzzler. What is it that moves in the direction of self pity? It’s not good, to be sure. Something akin to angst, the bane of all self-disrepsecting existentialists like me.
I hate feeling this way – stuck, alone and hopeless. And I hate myself for my inability to feel anything else.
I’m so tired of it, but it’s almost 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep. 6 years ago