Thursday, June 28, 2012

Living in the Present, Not Just in Limbo Between the Past and the Future

Although I preach optimism in my blog, I have a real tendency toward pessimism. I am really good at finding the negative aspects of a situation first and latching on to them as if I can gain some hidden insights. For example, yesterday I spent most of my day sitting on the couch watching television and moping. I was upset that I don't feel at home yet in my new environment, mad that my friends and family aren't down here with me, sad that I feel like a stranger in my own life. I spent the day ruminating on things I couldn't change instead of trying to do something about it. 
I think this tendency of mine to focus on the negative also stems from my inability to live in the present. I describe myself as "in limbo" so much because I truly am. I live between the past and the future, but I never touch the present. I get so wrapped up in events that I can't change and things that might be, that I fail to see what is right in front of my face. I fail to live the life that I have been creating for myself. This is a real problem, and I'm beginning to recognize that. This week I've had three days off in a row, this one being the third. While I've been somewhat productive, it hasn't all been healthy. I spent day one in the past, day two moping, and here, at day three, I hope that I've made some kind of breakthrough. 
On day one, I convinced myself that I needed to rekindle an old friendship that has been broken for the past two years. Now the decision to suspend the friendship was a mutual one, but I don't think I've really come to terms with the way it ended. It wasn't messy, it wasn't nasty, but it was painful in a way. I had been really close to this guy for four years and he had become my spiritual and emotional go-to guru. After graduation, we stopped talking. His life was going in a spiritual direction and mine was not. He was not in the position to keep up a close friendship with me and while I accepted this fact, I can't say that I ever truly understood. 
We didn't speak for a year until he wrote me a letter telling me that he didn't see why we couldn't still be friends, there was no rule against it. I was both hurt and relieved, but mostly hurt that it had been an entire year without contact, an entire year in which I received as much closure as one can possibly obtain in situations such as these. We wrote back and forth for the summer although it became difficult for me to pretend it was like it used to be. We met once and it was so awkward for me that I gave up the illusion we could make a friendship work, so I ended it (for the second time). It was I who brought it back a third time this spring when I was convinced he belonged in my life. 
I consider myself a spiritual person, but have not been good at practicing my beliefs. Somehow conversations with him always eased my mind and my thoughts about God and life. So I told him that I believed he still had a place in my life, but the letter I got in response seemed colder, not the same person I had taken long walks with in college. I ignored this fact and after giving it some thought, I called him on Tuesday. I thought his opinion on my recent grief concerning my grandmother's death and on my life transition might be helpful. It wasn't. After an hour on the phone, I finally realized that I had to let it go. We are both in different places of our lives, places where the other one can no longer follow. He had been building up a wall this whole time we had gone without contact, and like an idiot, I ran headfirst into it. I was sad then mad then accepting. I was sad that such a great friendship had ended, sad that a person who had been integral to four years of my life was just gone. I was mad that he contacted me a year ago only to start pushing me away. I suppose that now I've accepted that our friendship is meant for the past. We both knew it would end because of the separate lives we both chose. I just didn't think I'd have such a hard time letting it go, but then again, I have a tendency to hold on to people, usually people I shouldn't. 
On day two, I moped around my apartment. I was upset that I didn't fit into the new lifestyle into which I had inserted myself. I became fixated on the fact that my family and close friends were hours away, that my boyfriend was at work, that there were no good Law & Order marathons on television, and that I did not know what I was doing with my life. Again, I turned toward the negatives. I really need to stop myself before I get to that place because once I start questioning or hating one decision, others follow all too willingly. By the time my boyfriend came home, I was slumped on the couch with Grey's Anatomy playing on Lifetime and a sour puss on my face. We were going out to dinner with one of his friends so he peeled me off the couch and attempted to cheer me up. I find that once you're in a bad mood, it takes a lot of coaxing to get you out of it. I also find that no matter how many people try to put a smile on your face, only you make the decision to do so. I enjoyed going out to dinner and watching them play video games afterwards, but I was still in a place of self-loathing, of wondering, of bitterness. 
It wasn't until the ride home that I began to accept my own advice and live in the present. I stuck my hand out of the window as the highway flew by, the trees throwing shade in varying degrees on my arms and the hood of my car as the sun sank lower in the sky. He took my hand from the driver's seat and I closed my eyes. I listened to the wind blowing and felt the sun and shade dancing on my face. I smiled as my eyes stayed shut and reminded myself that this was living in the present, this moment was what I was missing as I moped in my apartment or refused to smile out of my own stubborn will. We said nothing on the way home and I reveled in the silence instead of brooding. It's moments like that which remind me why I'm here and what I should be focusing on.
So today I sit in the nearby library, typing this post. Men were working on the outside of my apartment and with every blow to the house, I felt as if the windows would cave in and my patience along with them. But once again, life has a funny way of turning around situations. I walked out of my apartment this morning frustrated at the noise, ready to yell at the workmen, but instead ended up in this peaceful library which eerily reminds me of the one in which I used to find sanctuary at school. I realized I forgot my headphones and silently cursed as I sat down in my cubicle, but sometimes we need the silence. In the absence of distraction, I find my peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment