It’s time that I acknowledge that I am not OK — and that’s OK. Life, both internally and externally, is no plateau for anyone; it’s a road trip in the mountains with car troubles, moments you don’t realize you’re going 15 over until you just miss the deer that jolts in front of you, areas that smell like skunk, stop lights that seem to last hours, people speeding past you, holding you up, angrily honking at you when you forget your turn signal, or sometimes for what seems to you like no reason at all, cars that totally invade your personal space and won’t get off your ass no matter how many times you slam your brakes, and times where you get completely lost, get directions from a local who makes it seem so easy but somehow end up in the exact same spot you met him just when you thought you were headed in the right direction. Oh, and don’t even get me started on distractions. On the other hand, you also get your share of delightful views and new places, people who offer you a perspective you’d never previously considered, new friends who go out of their way to help you, and new friends who you help out and impact more than you know. You get your favorite song on the radio, and are relieved to notice that the dude in the car next to you is totally jamming out to the same station and not laughing at your lame dance moves. Oh, and the adorable puppy you pulled over to pet for 10 minutes — you definitely do not regret that distraction.
The beauty of this road trip is that the destination is never, ever defined. You continue to engrave a path that is perfect for you in each moment that you progress. A path that will always stay with you. You can embrace what you’ve learned in the past, and you can look forward to the future. But right now, there is absolutely nothing you can do to change either of those. But you have the current moment at your fingertips. The part of the path that you are creating, right now, and it’s all yours. You are on a trip where your destination and route lack all certainty, which is a freedom and gift you will always have in this abstract thing we call “life.” Just like your journey, life as a concept is an ambiguous puzzle with no solution. The universe, or whatever “this” is, is a complex and evolving state of arrangements within and between all sorts of other arrangements that arise from properties which cause and interact with other interactions that lead to even more properties and interactions on different scales and/or dimensions, and a bunch of other stuff that isn’t and shouldn’t be comprehensible, eventually led to life — an extension of the previous concept, except a piece of it which we are aware, and a beautifully favorable process. But if life and everything else is arbitrary, isn’t my journey the same? Yes, of course it is. So why bother to find meaning in your journey when the idea of meaning itself is arbitrary? Just because it’s arbitrary does not mean it’s nonexistent or matters any less, unless you choose to look at it that way. It’s abstraction and complexity are what make it so awesome. All of it — life, your journey, identity, the universe, and meaning itself — is meaningful simply because it’s real. The current moment of your journey and the current state of the universe both 1) have been built from the past which can be learned from but not changed, 2) have a future, which by definition cannot be controlled, because of the beautiful ambiguity of the undefined destination, and 3) are meaningful because of 1 & 2, which can only be embraced in the present moment, right now.
Anyways, you know that this road trip has both good and bad routes that you must take, and that the bad routes are learning experiences and are just as, if not more, valuable and rewarding to you than the good ones. And all of this is always embraced in the present moment. Yet, you find yourself refusing to accept what the bad experiences are giving you! Why?
Just because experiences are in the past and cannot be changed does not mean they don’t still have an effect on you. Perhaps you got an entirely new path with a bad breakup or a new outlook on life, and you’ve learned a ton from those paths. A fuck ton! But along with any learning comes feeling. Feeling is part of the learning experience and it is always a component of the present moment. You might be wondering how we learn from the past. We cannot change it or access it, so how? Along with our memory of the experience come feelings that result from it, and these two things are linked. You cannot learn from the past and embrace the path you made without embracing the feelings and memories that come along with it. These are the trace you have that give you a window to your inaccessible past and allow you to learn from it. I’m not saying you should relive these memories in your head over and over, but you should not deny or suppress the feelings they give you. You do a good job of trying to move forward. You know that you are supposed to learn from your heartbreak. You don’t realize, though, that it doesn’t just happen. You have to feel to make it happen. And you know that there are different types of feelings. You know them well and you know your preference for each. You like being happy and you dislike being sad. You want to be happy. Now, in the future, as much as possible. But lately, your desire to be happy, now or in the future, has been taken over by your desire to not be sad. You can’t control/promote the emotions you feel but you can suppress the emotions don’t want to feel to an extent, or substitute them with other feelings, or maybe even unexplainable behaviors.
Your breakup brought a lot of sadness, which you experienced very dramatically for a period of time. It was a huge learning experience for you. Your first serious relationship, and the first connection you’ve had with someone that just felt like they got you. The first time you really felt romantic love. And it was beautiful. A truly wonderful and life-changing value in your life came to an end, so of course you are sad. You want so badly to learn but you’ve been refusing to experience the sadness that comes along with it. You know that this experience is too valuable to not learn from, all experiences are. You’ve postponed the learning and the sadness at the expense of a few things.
1.) Bad habits that you can’t even explain
2.) Complete change in identity and life goals, which actually may have been a good route change, but still something you should acknowledge
3.) Anxiety feelings and fears, until those became too unbearable and you suppressed them with drugs rather than substitution. Necessary, though.
4.) School and work performance
5.) Motivation and organization and leadership drive
6.) Ability to feel happy – not in the current moment, but in any future moment, in long term.
You’ve been postponing happiness which is a very valuable emotion in the long run because you’ve been afraid and unwilling to experience the sadness right now, in the current moment.
You have been avoiding the short-term feeling of sadness at the expense of eventual happiness in the long-term, by use of compensatory actions that give you some short-term gratification, but that hurt you in the long-term. You understand this and you now know that experiencing this sadness will be very worth it. But understanding and knowing does not help you until you take action and do it. It’s ok, sadness is normal and ok. You don’t have to be afraid of it. Everyone experiences it and learns and grows from it. You are not alone.