Wednesday, August 01, 2012

An Obssessive Without An Obssession

I wrote about Shmeshression recently.

Fortunately, I have more time these days, so I have the luxury of actually paying attention to it instead of ignoring it and throwing myself into whatever activity comes next. I know a lot of people swear by the 'stay busy' method of coping with their feelings, but as a busy person myself, I've found that method isn't sustainable in the long term. Eventually, you either stop or something beyond your control stops you.

At which point you, sir or madam, are fucked.

You can't run from the devil in your own back pocket.

So we sit with what is bugging us. Alternately, we go for walks with it (Sometimes I also like to lie on the couch and put my feet on the coffee table or roll them on my stability ball. I'm not one to stand on ceremony).

The more time I spend with my alleged shmeshression, the less I feel its the root of what's going on. The sadness, the loneliness, the dissatisfaction are symptoms of something else, a constant presence in my life, a steady background hiss like radio static.

That static is restlessness.

I am always restless.

When I'm at home, I'm impatient to be with friends. When I meet up with friends, I'm anxious to get to where we're going. When we get to where we're going, I'm already waiting for that to pass so we can have dinner. When we have dinner, I'm waiting to go home. When I'm home, I'm impatient to do whatever comes next.

No matter what I'm doing or feeling, that restless static is always there. But no matter how I twist the knob, I don't seem to be able to find a station for very long. Every once and a while a fragment of music will rise from the mist of distortion only to fade away again.

Sometimes I don't even get that much.
Here's the wonderful thing about restlessness: properly channeled, that shark-like keep-swimming-or-die relentlessness can take you further than you'd ever imagine.

The secret is to have a Pursuit.

Granted, there are Bad Pursuits: substance abuse, joining (or possibly founding) cults, building weather machines and holding the world hostage.

There are also noble pursuits, such as social justice, science and medicine, various other things that represent the pinnacle of human achievement.

In my case, it has been comedy or writing or women or jiu jitsu or wrestling or reading or a number of other this-es and thats that were never compelling enough to keep me going for long but interesting enough to fill a few weeks.

The trouble with Pursuits though is that sooner or later, you either achieve them or recognize they are unachievable. You take them as far as you can, or you lose interest.

And what do you do then?

Find the next thing.

But what happens when there isn't a thing?

I'll tell you. Life feels weird and strangely empty.

I'm an obsesive without an obsession. An addict without an addiction.

I think a lot of people might see that as a good thing. There are times I think it's a good thing.  I have a clarity and peace of mind I've never known previously. Which is nice.

I can enjoy moments with friends, with family. I can treasure every second with my nephew: feeding him, reading to him, chasing and wrestling with him, helping him up and down the stairs, or babbling inanely back and forth. I haven't mastered it completely, but I can be where I am instead of counting the moments until I can slide back into my Pursuit of the Hour.

Again, these are nice. But it isn't exciting.

I can enjoy contentment, but still miss the rush.

Believe it or not, I have still more on this subject. Maybe it will make the blog; maybe it won't.

But for now, this feels as good a stopping point as any.

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August 19 - RCW Freakshow (featuring Scott Steiner), Union Hall, Edmonton
August 25 - RCW Assault Darlene Fowler Memorial Show), Glengarry Community Hall, Edmonton

1 comment:

Cori said...

Restlessness seems to explain my predicament exactly.