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    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    by Helene "Tomorrow Is Another Day" Gresser

    I just had a birthday this week, and I am unphased by turning another year older except for the fact that I have no life plan, no real goals set for myself. I am floating through the days lately. Drifting. On autopilot. It’s not bad, but it’s not very good.
    I made a concerted effort this past year to stop living in the past and being filled with regret and angst – torturing myself with bad decisions made and opportunities missed was filling my head and heart with too much baggage. The decision to stop wondering “what if I had done THIS instead?” happened when my former fiancĂ© - a man I had dated for seven years, a man to whom I had lost my virginity and loved deeply but left because I was twenty-three and graduating college and confused and I stupidly thought I was in love with someone else – told me this spring he was divorcing his wife and had moved out and was in love with someone else. And I had to finally let go of the years of wondering if we might ever get back together. Some twenty-three years after I had called off the wedding, I called off the fantasy of reconciliation and rekindling of romance and a life with someone who had known me since I was in high school.
    Twenty-three years is a long time to live with regret. Life is not a movie in which all is neatly tied up with happily ever after. It was time to move on and live my life, even if it meant never finding someone who will know me well, love me anyway, and want to spend the rest of their life with me. I mourned briefly, but then felt the weight of years of guilt and doubt lift from my shoulders. He had moved on, and I was ready to open my eyes and arms to something new. I knew I might remain single forever. But I am eternally hopeful, as you might have gathered from my previous writings.
    Living in the present is very difficult. And planning for the future is so overwhelming to me that I have avoided thinking about it, lest I create a fluttering panic and nausea that overtakes me and prevents sleep. But it creeps up in the wee hours, as most folks are snuggled in bed, and the undone things begin to undo me. I surf the web. I fuck around on Facebook. I smoke a cigarette and stare at my papers. I take a walk around the block. I used to go to Elaine’s after midnight to have a drink and gossip with the regulars and stay until well past three a.m. Anything to avoid thinking about what I need to do.
    Getting involved with someone is a nice distraction from the panic. But then that becomes a delicious way of avoiding making plans for me.  Instead, sex takes precedence. The great book “The War of Art” calls this “Resistance.” I get wrapped up in the guy, the relationship, the angst and fervor and lovesickness, and I don’t have to think about creating. I focus on someone else, because that is easier than looking at my mess and evaluating how to make my life and career into something I love. The minutiae of a disciplined approach to my craft, my survival jobs, my well-being; it’s just too damn tedious. Let me just lie here in bed with this warm man and watch old movies instead. Sure, let’s go the dive bar tonight, and sleep until noon the next day. I’ll run to the 7-11 and get us some more ciggies and donuts and then we’ll have another romp. And six months goes by, bam. Bam. The things undone are still waiting. And waiting. And the fluttering resumes.
    I don’t know how to break the cycle, but I think I am working on the tiniest of cracks with my little nail file, perhaps eventually working my way to finding a pickaxe and then a wrecking ball to smash it wide open. Living smaller so I can make room for bigger things is a start. Oh holy hell, it seems insurmountable, this sorting and consolidating and prioritizing. I’d rather do just about anything else.
    But I want to wake up one day and not have that dread feeling of wasted time tickling my gut. Resistance is futile.


  2. 4 comments:

    1. oy. and i can relate to so much of what you share about what you go through.

    2. Emerald Rush said...

      There is no wasted time. Ever.

    3. Spleen said...

      I just love that you read my posts and share your thoughts. It keeps me moving forward, keeps me writing. Thank you.

    4. Anonymous said...

      Very well-said, Helene.
      The human condition is filled with one-word questions, but will never have one-word answers...
      -John Jack

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