I used to think there would come a time when things would be ‘right’, be better and I could then do……whatever. Till then I had it in my mind, waiting, but this time kept getting yanked away, like a tease, a trap, pulled away again and again. Till the realization suddenly hit me. It’s a lie, a delsuion, this is life, there is no right time, it’s never going to come. There will always be shit to deal with, difficulties, torments, it never stops, it never goes away. This mythical future place of ‘rightness’ is a dupe, a distraction. There will always be something jabbing into your life, dragging at your awareness, sucking your time, so you better get used to it and accept it and get on with things.
I say this not in a negative, defeatist way but with a new resigned strength and acceptance; a new understanding of the truth, that yes it’s like this, life is like this always, it may wax and wane, the intensity come and go, but this is how life is and it’s up to us to choose. To see the way things are, to accept the reality that there will always be stuff to deal with; there is always something that challenges us and gets in our way, makes us angry, hateful, frustrated, all these things and everybody feels them, but we have a choice, in our minds, our psyches. We have a choice always. We have to do the things that matter to us now, even if ony in small pieces, if that’s all there is. Grab moments, we can’t wait because that is death. Life will waste us and if we don’t find a way of holding on to the things we love and need, we will be destroyed.
Don’t get me wrong, this is hard, it’s a battle. I’ve learnt the hard way but however bad things get, you have your inner life and the choice you can make to allow yourself to appreciate what matters to you now, not wait, not hold on for some dream that just evaporates into the dust of time going by. Everyone struggles, everyone has problems, but we can have a choice in how we think, how we react, how we use our lives, even if it’s only in brief spaces between all the crap we have to deal with.
These aren’t churned out platitudes full of hot air and unworkable, meaningless words, they are ideas I’ve tried, of how to think about things, how to try and hold on and still get something meaningful from it all. The truth of how life is, seeing it and coping with it and trying to do something while you’re here.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy, it won’t make things go away and it won’t always work. Sometimes everything just comes crashing down and you can do nothing; sometimes it just won’t happen. But every day is a chance – to be aware, aware of how you react, how you think, feel, and to do what means something to you, even though the bills are waiting, even though the groceries have run out and the world’s going to hell and the cruelty and injustice is crushing you. From small personal problems to the large engulfing horrors, you can’t change everything, you never could, and everything will never be fixed, but it doesn’t mean you can’t even try, doesn’t mean you should stop caring, doesn’t mean nothing matters even if it seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Do it anyway.
There will always be ‘stuff’ to cope with, you will always feel anger, hate, frustration, impotence, inadequacy, you will never be able to do everything you wish you could. Get used to it, don’t pretend, admit it. This is how life is and until humanity takes a big leap forward in evolutionary terms, something that doesn’t seem too likely any time soon, then you just have to do what you can, in the place you’re at. But do those things that pull you, that gnaw at you constantly, don’t wait, because when you get there?…to that right place…..?? It’s just the same old shit. So do it now, amongst all the wrongness and turmoil and stress, whatever it is you’re going through right now. Find moments here and there; read those books you always wanted to – even an odd page between stuff you have to do; read a poem – just one and relish it, read it aloud and feel the voice behind them. Write your own. Write how you feel. Write just a few words here and there, it builds a connection. Doodle in the margins of the paper in the margins of the day or a few silent moments of the night. Just sit for ten minutes in the sun with the stray cat that wanders through, let him share his life, just be with him for a few minutes. Share with someone why you don’t have milk, why it matters, why you care, that one person just might tell someone else and why you don’t shop at wherever, it won’t change the world but do it anyway.Whatever pulls you, whatever gives you joy,nourishment, passion, find small spaces and do it, do it with heart. Whatever it is, however small, choose, be aware of what helps and hinders you, what has it’s hooks in you and will not let you go; what endures despite everything.
The world human beings have created has gone very, very wrong, we know that and we could get lost and just let it all engulf us and it’s hard not to sometimes, it’s a natural reaction when you see what’s going on, when you’re aware and you care and are faced with what are insurmountable wrongs, everywhere; but there is too much to defend, to care about, what chance does any of it have if we allow ourselves to be destroyed??
Accept the way things are while staying true to your heart, you are what you are. Accept the way you feel, the good and the bad, it’s okay, it’s natural, we all feel it. I used to feel bad about feeling bad and tried to pretend I wasn’t angry, didn’t hate, wasn’t sad, frustrated…..whatever, but it’s okay to feel these things, don’t swallow them, don’t feel gulity, they’ll come and they’ll go, like everything in life. Only the truly ignorant and soulless do not struggle with these emotions every hour of every day. But there can be moments of joy and love too; moments of fulfillment, however small and moments where you can remove yourself to a different way of thinking.
This isn’t an answer,a way out, a one time solution that will make everything alright. It’s a continual effort and adjustment, sometimes hopeless, sometimes useless, but always open for experiment. Life will still be a battle every day but learning how to be aware of how you feel, how you think, how you can choose to be open to a different interpretation, is something worth looking at and realizing that this is it. All those things you’re waiting for, to slide into place, to make everything okay?? Well, they just might never happen, so quit waiting for them, steal moments back, steal them now, they add up and you need them, you deserve them. We all wish things would be how we want them to be, how we imagine them but most times life has other ideas. All we have is this inner choice, it’s really the only power we have. So use it, experiment. Sometimes, it helps.
(An aside to anyone who is interested: Synchronicity speaks – While mulling these thoughts over and thinking about all this the last few weeks,(going on years)and trying to write it, I came across a talk by David Foster Wallace on Youtube,titled,’this is water, this is water’. What a curious and welcome coincidence and quite strange how sometimes you just seem to draw similar things to those you are focusing on. If you have the time give it a listen, it’s well worth it, it’s wonderful!! It is honest, moving, perceptive and generous; even more poignant hearing his voice speak these things, knowing what he was driven to do a few years later. I’m so glad he shared this and someone captured it, it’s a treasure!!)