navelly life evaluation

I honestly know that self comparison with the outward appearance of other people’s lives is both inaccurate and unuseful– and yet there seem to be these moments of large life transition that come in waves. right now I feel a certain swirl around me– friends who had waited out the initial earlier moments of such things are now getting married and having babies. other friends are deeply involved in further developing their professional careers and areas of expertise. people have projects. identity constructs. and I am largely without one, currently.

lately I’m feeling like I have occupied too many subject positions without a deep level of commitment or sustained ideological identification. I’m using big academic words. signifies just how clunky my understanding of where I am right now is. I’m trying to get a handle on it.

it’s not just one thing or another, life never is– it’s a complex network of factors that conspire to leave me feeling a bit adrift and nonplussed. what do I believe in? what is important and worth my focus and directed energy and care? this is, probably, a postmodern dilemma: result of too many opportunities, too many perspectives conspiring to leave nothing at all certain or decisive. granted, I tend to be a P, in myers-briggs terms, and so incline toward open-endedness and indecision. but this feels like a larger, longer sea-change– a point at which I’m feeling, perhaps, that I crave a somewhat more consistent self-definition.

for some people the drive is internal: I am X or Y. I do Z. these things define me so. for some people the driving factors are external: they fall into a line of work, they need the money, or they find themselves pregnant inadvertently and choose to proceed– and the necessities of life to some extent dictate the course of decisions.

when you live so much alone, so thoroughly independently, without any sort of religion or culture or really overt doctrinal guiding systems of thought, existence can be a little overwhelming and unbearably arbitrary. I know I tend to generalize and engage in all kinds of distorted thinking– I may still be doing it here, though I am trying, this morning with a sudden boon of clarity and strength to begin to address it, somehow, to scratch the surface, to do so without huge distortions– as much as is ever possible for a person enmeshed in their own existence.

I have a very good therapist. I believe in the kind of work I’ve done and continue to do in therapy. honestly, I tend to think many more people could benefit from a little guided self-examination than choose to do so. I also know, after all these years of doing it, that analytical thinking constructs can very easily be circular and as much of an illness as any other. analysis does not solve. thoughtful action solves.

and so this morning I am hanging up clothes and organizing my space as I organize my thinking. I am putting up a bulletin board by my drawing table and pinning up scraps of ideas that have drifted around the clutter. this weekend I am going to try to follow through on a few small things. and to take a couple of small steps up out of the mire of my own lack of motivation in any particular direction. this morning the horizon feels lighter than it has been feeling. and tonight we spring forward.

17 Replies to “navelly life evaluation”

  1. I read the other day that many people, after organizing their houses, tend to lose weight. The connnection? When you organize the outside, the inside tends to fall more easily into place.
    I don't know if I believe that, especially looking at the mess that surrounds me in my living room, but I do know that whenever I clean a part of my house I feel infinitly better. Organizing your closet and finding a central place to keep your thoughts sounds like a good start down the path to inner satisfaction.
    Walking with you, dearest.

  2. Sometimes I think that the more free-floating my existence gets, the more anxious I get, but it also has more potential for discovery than any other state of being. Where I get tangled up is that I think that discovery will somehow lead to more stability and self-definition somehow. Only… it doesn't. I know that's ok, and I think that's the way it's (whatever "it" is) meant to be. But….
    Ok, drifting along with whatever comes out of my fingertips. Stopping them now. Just wanted to let you know I hear you, and as usual you are inspiring my own train of thought.

  3. As usual, we seem to be thinking the same thoughts, including the organizing of the externals. I'll be thinking of you as I organize my closet!

  4. This is interesting and I think we should discuss it over coffee tomorrow. I have some must do errands but would love to see you.

  5. what is important and worth my focus and directed energy and care?I've been thinking about the same question… how to be open to things and yet not so distracted… a difficult balance sometimes.

  6. yeah. I'm a little dubious about my own desire to have a more static self-concept–not sure it's ever going to be how it works with the sathead– but thank you for reminding me of what excellent company I'm in as a shifting, wondering being. please don't ever stop the work of those fingers.

  7. I don't know how it is for you but my career commitment phobia has been hitting new highs. It seems the more I do what I should and am rewarded for it, the less I want to do it and the more trapped I feel. I posted a big diatribe and then felt like a whiner and deleted it. I seriously am compelled to just hop around life taking pictures of burned up baby dolls and traveling and being deemed a ne'er do well. it just seems so much less constrictive. I don't think I want to officially BE anything.

  8. Don't feel like a whiner. Your recent posts about career commitment and doing what you "should" have been so validating for me. I have been feeling like a total loser now that I have my green card and a university degree tucked under my belt – and I don't want to do any of the fifty-hours-a-week jobs out there that people have to offer me. It's not a life, it's not living, and right now I don't care how privileged or downright spoiled I am for having the luxury to feel that way. However, I don't want to do any of the menial boring part time jobs people have to offer either. Bah. It's not even shame that's keeping me from writing about it. I just can't wrap my head around it enough. Part of me wants to blame myself for being lazy and indulgent, another part is just afraid for my financial future, but the larger part knows that most people have more in common with me on this one than is visible on the surface of things.

  9. you two. by golly, the two of you are consistently so attuned to the core of the crap that's plaguing me. I feel like I'm back on the treadmill– and for the most part I know I need the routine to keep me halfway sane– but there are days where it really doesn't feel like much of a life. okay, so maybe I'm struggling in part with something awry in our society– how much we live to work, how overwrought we all are with shoulds, how elusive balance seems to be– and community, for god's sake. to me it seems all too easy simply to disappear in this world– and that's just totally totally wrong. we ought to be more integrated with other people. freedom's all well and good, but the vacuum is dreadful. oh, dark dark dark. seriously looking forward to an eenly coffee date today. would be lovely if a lom could join us. xoxo to both.

  10. and you, my dear, are a constant inspiration. I strongly suspect that you have an element of self-discipline that I lack and crave– and your example sets some good standards for me as I take my own dang wobbly steps to do better in this human being work.

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