In the immortal words of the great philosopher Fredrick Durst “It’s just one of those days.” My phone is having trouble reading my touch as human and I’m stuck here thinking you know what buddy? I hear you. Something feels off in my psyche, like a dump truck full of existential dread has unloaded on my front lawn and I’m exhausted from trying to hide it from the rest of the neighbourhood. I’m bone-tired and my synapses ache from hauling these feelings around my brain. It’s weird, because there’s nothing especially tragic going on right now and that only makes this emergence all the more confusing. I was talking to my girlfriend the other day and suggested that while not everything is perfect in our lives, the floor is so much farther away than the ceiling. We could be happier, yes, but we could be considerably more distraught than we could be happier. I’ve got my health (aside from my rapidly degenerating post 25 year old body), a stable job, roof over my head, good friends and a burgeoning animal sports podcast empire. I don’t greatly want for things, which I guess is the desired result, right? I’m winning, right?
I was talking to my physiotherapist today and I found myself saying the words “my prime directive seems to be delaying future unhappiness” (yeah, I guess if I want my phone to register me as human I should start speaking like one). I don’t know if I’ve ever made a non-calculated risk, I’m not sure if it’s in my nature. I feel like I suffer from a real lack of spontaneity that goes deeper than just worrying about something going wrong. There’s this deep seated belief that I’m one bad decision away from fucking everything up. It’s not about finding happiness and things that thrill me, it’s about not being unhappy, as if this pursuit of neutrality is as far as I’ll get. Fulfilment takes a back seat to simply not having the world crumble around me. I’m not all doom and gloom all the time, obviously, but there’s a tension in my core that I’m ever searching for distraction from giving up. There’s a “why” that’s not being answered and everything feels so terrifyingly temporary.
You know the feeling after a laugh has subsided? The chuckles have run their course and the glow fades away? I’m terrified of the split second where a certain nothing sets in. When joy becomes neutrality. There’s a silent thought that lives in that moment that it won’t happen again. That forever I’ll be gasping for it while the weight of its absence seeps in. A kind of drowning that feels all too pervasive. It’s there waiting every single day and distraction seems to be the only way to forget it for a short while. Is this kind of avoidance healthy?
When I mentioned delaying future unhappiness to my physiotherapist, we were talking about body modification and how a tattoo seems so terrifyingly permanent. How every few years I seem to shed elements of my personality in a snake-like fashion and the things that meant something to me have faded into the past. There’s a dread in permanence that I can’t escape. I gave her my stock standard line that “I don’t care about anything enough to live with it for the rest of my life.” I’ve said it countless times, but for some reason today it sunk in and resonated. It’s true. I have a lack of passion that comes back to haunt me in those split seconds between laughs. There are no causes close to my heart. My absence of spirituality or belief in any capacity makes me fear for my own shallow nature. I long so much to have anything that drives me besides inertia and not knowing what else could be around the corner. Delaying future unhappiness is not enough and I don’t know how to find that calling. I don’t know how to answer that “why”. How do I find that meaning? Is it something you can deliberately grasp? Or is it a haphazard stumble each time? Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I’m just worried that waiting for it to come along isn’t gonna help me find it.