The feeling of exhaustion consumes me, like imagining what drowning would be like, only without the euphoria. I know how I got here, too, but I can’t even admit it out loud for fear it becomes reality, even though it is my reality.
Perfectionism is a beast you can’t defeat. It rides on your back and keeps your head facing the screen. You must impress the high-brows or else. You must type the right words or enter the right numbers. You must must. Your heart dances, but not in a good way. It wants to grow a pair of legs and run away.
Run away to somewhere it feels safe to be itself. Somewhere no harm can come to it and nothing can tell it to stay in one place, musting into infinity. In this place there’s no beyond. There’s only Groundhog Day.
The days blend together and it’s hard to tell if you’ve been through the trenches already or it’s only just starting. All you know is the feeling of exhaustion.
The other day I was driving home from work and I stopped behind some cars at a stoplight. I saw a guy pointing at the car next to him, as if to get the driver-of-the-car-he-was-pointing-to’s attention. I had no idea what this was about, but I kept my eyes on him, hoping to find out. He waited a second, but realizing the driver wasn’t going to get his message, got out of his vehicle and walked to the car he was pointing to and shut the trunk of that car. I didn’t even notice the trunk was open, but I did notice the guy after that random act of kindness. I got chills, like they were reminding me there is still some good left in the world. I drove behind him for a few more blocks, then another car butted in and then I wasn’t behind that guy anymore. I don’t know his name and I don’t really know what he looks like. But I don’t think I will ever forget him.
I can’t even tell you why this moment stood out so much to me. I’m sure lots of people all over the world are doing acts of kindness. Maybe it’s because of the timing of all the shootings happening lately. Maybe it’s my PMS. Who really knows? The news reports mostly bad things going on in the world, but often misses the good. When I witness something good like this it’s like I’m good-shocked or something. So much so the right words to describe it fail me…like right now…but no matter…I hope you all get to witness something good and not let anything bad happening in the world rob you of your joy. Because if you’re reading this, you deserve all the joy in the world.
The lady at orientation made it sound so good, like it would be so much fun and fun was as far as I could look as a recent high school senior. So here I am, a month, not planning the future like everybody else. They all are fast-forwarding to attending. Eating good food and sleeping in the most comfortable mattress and watching Disney movies because I got time to grow up. First semester didn’t go so well, but at least I didn’t fail out, not that I think it’s funny someone failed out due to a video game addiction. WOW is it? I know nothing about video games, only everything about every shade of snow. The ‘rents are away at work and I have the whole house to myself. It’s a lot of room for my thoughts to get out of control. The snow is beautiful and so are the robins hanging out on the bare branches, but that doesn’t change the fact up to this point I had been training for the Olympics and once I got in, the Olympics was over and I’m on my butt trying to figure out what my next move should be. Except I have no idea. All I want to do is be a Sheryl Crow song. At the end of this month it’s back to another semester of I don’t know. Another semester of stress beyond any freshman can imagine. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m not, but the only ones who get it are the undergraduates of this school. They say I’m at the age where my whole life is ahead of me. I’ve heard my whole life “life is short.” So why does it feel so long?
Don’t procrastinate. Stuff You Have To Do will just build up like plaque in between your teeth and then you’ll have to figure out how to tackle all of it at once like an ant bathes in a drop of water. Believe you me, that is not fun. If you care about the SYHTD, you may end up sacrificing your health to get it done. Usually that consists of staying up late and not eating three meals a day or substituting cooking with take out or instant microwavable meals like Ramen or Easy Mac. But that’s OK. It’s a quick gradual fix to reset if you want to reverse the effects of procrastination by replacing it with not-procrastination week by week until you are back to SYHTD like refilling your gas tank with 91 several times after it empties to bring the engine back to optimal function to replace the 87 you have been filling it without realizing the damage it may do to your engine. Don’t procrastinate. It takes more time to procrastinate than to actually get done what you set out to do. You’ll start typing a sentence then suddenly glance down and see how dirty your keyboard is and grab a can of air. Next thing you know you’re hungry from all that phalange movement so you go make some pasta, but it’s too boring watching water boil so you turn on the TV in the kitchen to keep you company and all of a sudden Sheldon is trying to cheer Leonard up by offering to beat him at a game Leonard cares least about losing. After you eat you feel like you deserve a little break so you go take Fifi for a walk. When you get back, it’s time for a nap. When you wake up you need to fit together another piece of that 1,000 piece Simpsons puzzle. Don’t procrastinate. Like backwards Nike, just don’t do it.
Aren’t we all racehorses to a certain extent? We eat, sleep, study, go to work, and clean up all so we can win a race at the end of all the routines. Yes, I know. Some people don’t follow routines and don’t let the MAN dictate what they do daily. Or, as Wonder Woman put it, not let a watch tell you what to do. Actually when I ran into that clip on YouTube the other day, I thought about. We let time tell us what to do. When to get up, go to bed, take a shower, eat, take a nap, go to work, etc. But is it so much time telling us what to do as our bodies? If we don’t sleep, our bodies will let us know the consequences. We are biologically programmed. (I know, a lot of times what I say doesn’t make sense, but just follow me on this.) If we don’t eat or take care of our bodies, we get sick. If we don’t have the resources to take care of ourselves, we lose the race. So we sleep, eat, go to work, and do whatever it takes to keep going in this race. We just all have different levels of motivation running through our veins and depending on the levels is what decides who excels in the race and who will be the runt of the litter. We take our water breaks when we go on vacation or take a day off from work. But as long as we are breathing, we have to keep racing.
I think how well you do also depends on if you have blinders on or not. All the comparing yourself to others slows you down. In some cases, removing the blinders for a moment makes you realize you aren’t even running the same race as the person you were comparing yourself to. Funny, huh? The joke’s on you when that happens. No one wants that to happen to them, though because then you know you’ve spent way too much time caring what other people think. So I think it would be cool if in every single lane next to us is just another version of us. In other words, if we only raced against ourselves, we would look more towards self-improvement than race against people we don’t know or an idea that only exists as fiction. It would be easier to find the best version of ourselves without all the distractions.
All kinds of people can enjoy the same music as long as it doesn’t have words. I’m thinking of classical music, but I’m sure there are others. You don’t have to speak the same language as anyone else to appreciate the same music without words. This kind of music communicates whatever it is you are feeling and thinking all without using any words. Let that sink in for a minute.
So why can’t all kinds of different people get along like they are the same kind of people? What would happen if everyone thought the same way and had the same lifestyle? The first thing I think of is how boring the world would be, but then again, maybe it wouldn’t be like that. Maybe there would be less fights and wars. At the very least, there would be more understanding, even when there are disagreements. People would understand where the other person is coming from because they’ve had the same problem before or know how exactly they feel. There would be more compassion and empathy in the world. Some people are already like this and that’s great, but everyone needs to be like this. For the world to work. For the world to be at peace. We desperately need change.
There’s a feeling you get when you know something is about to happen. But then again, something may not happen. So you question it, back and forth like a pendulum. It’s a little like nervousness and it’s a little like throwing up. I know I’m not describing this feeling very well, but I don’t think there’s a word out there for it yet. I guess you just have to be in my body feeling what I’m feeling to really know what I’m talking about. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
You’re not going to ever feel exactly what I’m feeling. But it’s okay because I’m not ever going to feel exactly what you’re feeling either. There’s not another person out there exactly like me and there’s not another person out there exactly like you. Isn’t the world a wonderful place? So knowing this it makes me sad to think someone would feel so unworthy to be in existence they end their life by their own hands. Or someone would cause physical harm to themselves. People have seriously made life a lot more complicated than it is, but then again, maybe the way I experience reality is different from the way you experience yours so who am I to judge you for how you live? But if I don’t voice it out loud, I’m still going to do it in my head whether I notice it or not. You know what I mean?