The pattern of my life is generally I spend two or three years focusing on one thing, neglecting the other aspects of my life, then it collapses, I have nothing else and no other identity, everything feels meaningless, I quit everything, slowly recede inward, get suicidal, decide to enjoy my last meaningless days, discover a new side of myself, turn that into motivation to not-die, which then becomes a reason to live, which I focus on for a few years and the pattern starts over.
The timing shifted during this year though. In the last 400 days more often than that I felt like suicide was my only, and inevitable, choice, it’s how I wanted my story to end. And a big part of it is that being a complete, well-rounded, functioning person seems like a Herculean, infinite task, which is all the more scary when you consider starting at 30. It’s always been much more appealing to me to burn really hard really fast and do what great thing forsaking all other mediocre things.
But then the story ended anyway. I imagine it like playing a super bowl game, everything is immensely life-or-death while the clock is winding down but when the game’s over, after the ghost-like feeling of watching a celebration, watching a narrative climax that isn’t yours, then you realize it was just a game. Some games are extremely important but they’re still just games, they’re not who you are, they’re not your life story they’re just a scene.
As this period of my life started I found that rather than be suicidal I’m accepting that the old me is dead. That whole arc of my life is over and it no longer feels true, it feels like it was never true. Like when you step out of a movie theatre and it’s only when you see your reflection you realize you’d forgotten what you look like.
Of course going through a spiritual change feels obvious internally to the self but to the compartmentalized outside viewer it’s hard to see anything is different. When people talk to me now I get the sense they are talking to old me, they want to be caught up on the old narrative, and I feel a little embarrassed because what I thought then is slightly incongruent with what I think now, with who I feel I am now. Other people’s view of us is a tally of memorable moments, you are the last memorable thing you did, whereas our view of ourselves is shifting imperceptibly at all times.
But like I said, I grow in patterns, the feeling that ‘I’m not that person anymore’ is more accurately said as ‘I’m not that person right now’.
Whenever the core aspect of my life starts to go away I always feel that I’m nothing without it. It’s a total loss of identity, a end to a self, a death. But rather than be despondent about it, this time I feel like just trying to be the best nothing I can.
I am the ghost of my former self. And ghosts can be very wise.