Since my last post, I’ve been taking time, entire days on occasion, to think; about what it is I want, what I need, who I am, who I’ve been, who I want to be.
Today’s been one of those days. Between periods of reading, I’ve been wandering listlessly through my apartment, staring at rain, staring at the ceiling, staring at nothing, really.
I can blame it on the book I’ve been reading (Lord of Light, which is beautiful and sad and funny and profound).
I can blame it becoming saturated with Woody Allen’s existentialist one-liners, which serve to haunt me at the oddest moments, where their absurd and pointillist nature mimic a lot of feelings I’ve been having lately.
I’m not gonna get into it because when I started this latest blog incarnation, I promised I’d stop posting the long, overly-detailed internal arguments I’m constantly having with myself about myself. Fiction is a better venue for that anyway, where at least we can all pretend that those arguments have a point, and that we can change as a result of them.
I’m trying. I really am. But it’s hard to shed the people we were. As we get older, it gets more complicated, as there are so many different versions of ourselves running around in our heads, including the best and the worst versions of us. As we get older, we see more of those edges of ourself. And we wonder which among those avatars, is the true reflection of who we are.
But that’s the wrong question. There is no one true version of ourselves. We are and always will be legion.
So we try to simplify – hoping to get at the root so as to kill the myriad weeds that keep emerging to choke us.
And the most we can hope for is to keep gathering data. Keep organizing it, looking for patterns of emotions, behaviors, reactions, so that we might try to change.
And perhaps that’s the only point of all of this – to understand that there is no end state, no nirvana of self that can be reached, where you will finally be happy and unhaunted.
I once asked someone I admired greatly if you achieve your dream, does the dreaming stop?
She told me it doesn’t. It just changes.
I was so afraid then. I was afraid of losing that sense of purpose. I was afraid of drifting, like I did for years during grad school before I decided to start writing again.
Drifting much like I am now. Unthethered, no longer in terms of what I wanted to do with my life, but instead in terms of the person I want to be.
And so instead I’m trying to be okay with having no answers. With fighting tiny, ultimately pointless internal battles with myself in the hopes of achieving a state of happiness that’s as transient as everything ultimately is.
It’s a different tactic. And I suspect it will fail.
But one thing is certain: despite having been so many different things, there are pieces of those people we were that stick.
And I’ll always be a scientist at heart, so I’ll take all the data I can get.