I've been unhappy lately. I've been unable to motivate, I wage a small war with depression and my ability to get out of bed in the morning, and I'm frustrated. I often ask myself what I did wrong, replaying what-ifs in my head and wondering where things went wrong. I can't quite put my finger on things, but I think what I suffer from is a lack of fulfillment.
Which surprises me and teaches me things about myself I never knew.
I've always prided myself in taking joy in the simple things in life. I've never been someone who has let my job, my possessions, my friends, my looks, or my income define me. Yet, here I am, one year and four months out of work, newly moved to California, financially insecure, unhealthier and fatter than I've been in a while, recovering from hip surgery. Unhappy. Unfulfilled.
Why do I feel this way?
Why am I so focused on the negatives when in reality, I am surrounded by family and friends that love me, that care for me, that are there for me? When I have a safe place to live, and a functional car that takes me where I need to be? When I have access to running water, heat, and healthy food?
I'm so caught up in acquiring my perception of happiness and success that I've failed to just live. To truly experience. Which was the reason I took 12 months from work, the reason I spent most of 2009 traveling, doing odd non-corporate jobs, volunteering, being a part of my community -- I wanted to experience life in a way that I hadn't before. I want to be able to say that I lived my life.
Was I truly happy as a desk jockey that worked 50-80 hour weeks? Was I truly happy living a life that started at 6am and didn't end until midnight? Was I truly happy because I bought a $1,200 handbag? Was I truly happy making six figures but paying $3,000 a month to live in a mouse-infested apartment building in a desirable neighborhood?
When I try to place myself in that life again, I remember that I wasn't. That I hated that life too.
So, why is it that I'm trying to find that life again? That the life I have now isn't ok?
JP, the world's best therapist, says that when we're faced with the unknown, we often revert back to the familiar even if it isn't good for us or hurts us. That's why children of addicts marry one or become addicts themselves. Perhaps in the face of the unknown and uncertain future, I wish I had my old life because I know it "works." I don't know whether my current life will succeed. I don't have a map that tells me that I should do next. I am just here.
I'm scared. Which is why I've been wishing for something I walked away from. To truly experience life, I ought to embrace my fear. Live in the moment. Fill up on my experiences. Even the hard ones. Because struggles, personal frustrations, fear, uncertainty. That's life too.
I am not my job or my ability to find a job. I am not my income. I am not the clothes I wear, the bags I carry or the places I shop. I am not my busy schedule, my social calendar or the hours spent at the gym. This is my life, and I'm exactly where I should be right now.