I feel in a contemplative mood this evening. I don’t know if anyone even reads this any more, except for the weird Google referrals I still get. That’s of no consequence, I wrote this blog for my own purposes, and the traffic was incidental, although appreciated.
Looking back over the years I wrote this blog, I was full of angst. Desperate to prove myself, to myself. I’d had a relatively miserable existence (first world problems) up until my early 30s, and the writing of the blog coincided with a period of rapid development in my life, learning to actually like myself. Everything was new, surges of confidence, doing things for the first time, meeting a great girl (who has long since fallen by the wayside).
Such periods of growth in life are heady, exhilarating, yet ultimately unsustainable in the longer term. Once you start approaching a high level in the things you care about, growth becomes in the nature of diminishing returns. After a little while, you get used to feeling “fixed”. You realise it’s been months, or even years since you actually even paid attention and noticed all the women checking you out, that once upon a time a single instance of which would have buoyed you for days. You walk into a room of strangers, bantering and joking with them all, flirting with girls, and it’s gone out of your mind in the next instant. It’s fun at the time, but ultimately means little in the scheme of life, where once it was your dream.
I suppose this is what it is to be “well-adjusted”, as they say. Just confident and content in who you are.
This is where the real grind kicks in. The low hanging fruit has long since been attained, and all that is left is to focus on the real, long-term, big goals, the ones that you have to grind away at, one day at a time, which you may not reach for another half decade. It’s easy to almost slip into a sense of mild ennui at these times, without that heady rush of constant progress, pushing new levels. But then you take stock, and remind yourself of where you came from, where you are now, and that back then you were experiencing crushing lows just as often as the highs. Stability has a lot to be said for. I know which is preferable.
And it’s not even like the progress stops, you just aren’t really aware of it as something which defines your existence any more. You start looking for some kind of broader meaning to things. I even started dabbling with spirituality, seeking higher planes of consciousness, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet. Few more “material pursuit” goals to tick yet.
All this rambling is to say – fret not. Keep doing the good things, and you’ll get to where you wanted, and beyond. Except it may not quite feel like you thought it would when you get there. By necessity, to achieve the really difficult things, we need to care less about them. Outcome dependence ruins all. And yet by detaching in this way, we don’t enjoy it as much as once we would. One of life’s little tricks.
And you may well find the nagging feelings of discontent that propelled you into all of it, remain. That’s when it really gets interesting, as you realise it wasn’t your external condition the whole time, but rather something you carry with you. And confronting and fixing that is a much bigger, harder journey than anything you’ve done to date. You’re fine as you are, good even – but still it nags at you in the quiet hours…