Two steps back

On setbacks, inner conflict and being true to myself
4 min read. This was written on August 11, 2020, 8:15 pm. It was a chilly evening.

I'm going to be real with you - I don't have anything figured out, and I've been thinking about it.

I guess it's always been that way. I remember times in the past that I thought I finally got some things figured out — like what I wanted to do with my life and my career, what an ideal father looks and acts like, or what I want to get out of a committed, serious romantic relationship. I finally realized recently that no, I haven't figured it out, and that things aren't that simple.

For most of my life, I always acted as if I knew I was in the right place at the right time. Chalk it up to the naivety of my idealism, or just ignorant self-confidence. My expectations of myself and how the world reacts to my actions were never in the realm of the impossible, so even as I fell short every time, I thought it was tolerable. I thought I had time. There was always another chance, I thought.

Then recently, I just started hating myself, way beyond the usual threshold. I thought the world was being unfair to me, and I should have been way ahead than where I am right now. All of a sudden the well of motivations from which I drew my actions and intents was poisoned — I became rude to the people around me, quick to anger more than ever, and I found myself loathing every breath I took wanting to run away from it all - my career, my responsibilities, my limitations.

One day I just stopped caring.

Thank the stars I've been able to take a step back recently. Had I brushed it aside and pressed on, I may have made decisions I would've deeply regretted. After some time, I managed to apologize to the people I've been an asshole to, but even that is not enough for me.

Even after this incident, I haven't fully figured out the exact chain of events that brought me here. Was it the lack of deliberateness, that I should have been more intentional about what I wanted in the past? Am I just burned out from trying to balance everything and expecting to get everything I wanted from all of these aspects of my life? Is the weight of all my past expectations catching up to me? I'm not even sure if it's just seasonal depression, or a manic attack.

This recent global crisis does nothing to help in this regard - it isn't weird to call me entitled to be clamoring for more in this period where people are settling for less and are dealing with much worse situations than I am right now. I recognize people are in much deeper shit than I am dealing with, and am grateful for having some things work out for the better in my life.

But does acknowledging that solve my internal conflict, and rid me of the experience? I don't think it doesn't — if lessons from systems thinking serve me well, I came to this point because of the whole system I've depended my life to run on. It's a systemic issue - reducing this experience to mere entitlement or disillusionment, or basically saying it's all in my head does not do it any justice at all.

I may not figure out why I arrived at this point, but there's a few things that are undeniable - that there's no single event causing all of this, that I'm suffering from the general, integral way I've spent my life so far, and that something needs to change before I can recover fully.

This is the start of my attempt to not exactly figure life out, but trying to live deliberately knowing it's always going to be uncertain. Without regrets.