For a very long time I used to be preoccupied with my past. I wondered a lot about why certain things, family stuff mostly, had happened to me. Why me? Now it’s different. Now I’m telling myself stories about my future, about what I want it to look like. Feels better. Yet I am still lacking something: The ability to find lasting joy in the present moment.
I bet you have never heard anyone say this before. I probably am the only one in the whole wide world. Well. The funny thing is, given that I am the eternal self-observer, constantly analyzing my every thought and musing endlessly about it, it certainly hasn’t escaped my attention that this is what is happening. That I am musing a lot about my thoughts about my desired future.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I’ve been able to let go of the past, or most of it. I’m very glad. Yet, while I have replaced the old story line with a new one, a story line about what I want in life, and what I want out of it, I am acutely aware that life unfortunately doesn’t happen in the future. It happens in the Now.
I read an interesting article yesterday by James Clear. It was about the benefits of focussing on the process instead of the goal. One paragraph struck me in particular:
When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.” The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved.
There certainly is something to it. I’ve set my goals for the five coming years. And these are my goals, clearly. I wouldn’t want to change them. I’ve also created a process, my micro-step approach, to achieve my goals, and have resolved to focus on the process instead of a big unattainable master plan.
But, all truth be told, I have no idea how I can be happy, truly happy, in this awful middle place that I have occupied since my old life kind of fell apart. It’s like I’m stuck in this seemingly never-ending transition, not being in my old life, not being my old self any longer–but not being in my new life, being my new self yet either. Now you might inject: But you are in your new life. This is your new life.
The thing is, it doesn’t feel this way. It feels like a weird sort of god-forsaken station where I have gotten off the train that got me here long ago, and am eternally waiting for the next train, the one taking me to my new life. So far it hasn’t arrived. And I have no clue when it will. It could be months, it could be years.
And what, the hell, do you do at a train station, all by yourself–without your Self–for years on end without going crazy?
I’ve tried at all. Gratitude journaling. Jogging. Taking the bike more often. Seeing friends. Talking to family. Guided meditations. Affirmations. You name it. And it all does feel good. Sure does. But only for a short period of time. And then I’m back at the station. I just cannot seem to get out of there, shake off this deep-seated, always present feeling, this lingering sensation that I am simply not in the place I am supposed to be in. It’s odd. And it doesn’t feel good.
Maybe I’m just not used to uncertainty. Maybe I’ve spent too many years, decades, on autopilot, living my life the way I thought I wanted to live it, not realizing that I only thought I wanted to, as a natural result of many years of subconscious family programming aka perfectionism, suppression of my own needs and wishes, making no mistakes, calming conflicts, focusing more on others than myself, etc.
I am a bit at loss without it.
I don’t wish it back. Heaven forbid. But I so wish for a new base-level of certainty and grounding and, yes, some sort of routine, some sort of feeling of having arrived, to finally set it. I want to arrive somewhere. No, not somewhere. I want to arrive in my real new life. I want to go there and feel at home. Truly, fully, internally feel at home. I simply cannot stand the station life anymore.
Can someone please send that train, and do it fast, to take me to that place, the place where I belong?