Numerous books and articles and blog posts and well meaning advice givers exist with the lofty goal of helping one discover one’s purpose, what one really wants to do with one’s life, and so on.
Quit your job! Move from your home town! Travel!
I have done all of those things.
And all I seem to be able to come up with when presented with the question of what I really want to do is that I have a stack of novels I’d like to read, preferably in a comfortable piece of furniture overlooking water.
Maybe I’m just suffering from the general malaise of someone who has infinite choice. I can live here. I can move somewhere else. I can buy a new car. Or a house. I can sell all of my belongings and live on a houseboat. Or in a series of hotels. I have the means and the freedom to take any road less traveled I’d like. Nothing is tying me down. I don’t even have pets anymore, unless you count the fish in koi pond in my front yard and they do OK with the algae.
All of this should make life easier and yet seems to only make it harder. My doctor points to my lack of support system. That missing foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Maybe I’m just spoiled.
I was out with some friends a few nights ago and they started talking about another friend who I don’t know very well. That it was amazing how much adversity she had overcome in her childhood. I don’t know the details of this friend’s childhood and I don’t mean this next part to come across in a competitive way because that’s not what I mean to say at all. It’s just that I felt as though I had stepped outside of the conversation and was watching it through glass or on a movie screen.
I just had no frame of reference for the feelings that were being shared. It didn’t seem astonishing that another person had grown up in a trailer park. It just seemed normal. That’s just how life was.
Maybe I can never relax and enjoy what I have and am always waiting for it all to come crashing down because I feel like I’m looking through the glass at the world I’m living in.
When the popular (that is, rich) kids would invite me to do things in high school, it always felt temporary. Surely they would find out that I didn’t belong with them and I would never be invited again. I was outside the glass, looking in on them.
When I was growing up, nothing was permanent. It was a mistake to get comfortable anywhere, with anything, because the one known was that things would soon change.
That experience has helped me be flexible with life, but it hasn’t helped me with permanence. Or safety. And I always am waiting for everything to fall apart.
I find myself arguing with my stepdad a lot in my head. Telling him he was wrong. Only he’s dead, so it doesn’t help.
Which brings me back to the infinite choice of where I should live. Maybe I should in fact buy a house. Buy permanence. I say I like knowing I could go anywhere at any moment, but is that really true? I honestly don’t know.
Despite the numerous books and articles and blog posts and well meaning advice givers, I really just don’t know.