Time becomes irrelevant when you exist in a fog. You note its passing, later stay up all night with crushing guilt over what you should have done and how you could have spent the day. Think about all of the things you could have said to your kids but didn’t. Wonder why you seem wholly incapable of shutting off the screens and just…just bloody *interacting* with them. With anyone.
Think about social anxiety, and how utterly stupid it is to get butterflies before spending time with people you’ve known for years. People with whom you love spending time. People who understand that if you need to just go sit in a corner for a few minutes, it’s because of overstimulation – it’s too loud, or too bright, or too…peopley. Wonder, idly, where social anxiety even comes from in social animals. Fixate on that. Consider maybe not having caffeine anymore.
One of the worst things in the world is when someone wants you to talk about how your year has gone, or how your day has gone, or whether you are “happy”. I don’t strive for “happy” because that’s a recipe for disaster. Always. “Happy” and “lucky” come from the same semantic background. Just as I never build any goals on luck, I don’t build my goals around winning the lottery of “happy”. Yet, when I try to explain this, I always sound like a horrid curmudgeon. A spoilsport. A grump.
Follow this up with the ridiculous and, again, harmful activity of declaring “resolutions” for a fictitious “new year” that’s based on a taxation calendar (yes, I know I’ve bitched about New Year’s Celebrations before. I won’t go in to detail again). There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. But doing so because a new calendar year is beginning is senseless. If you want to write a novel, then write a goddamned novel. If you want to be a better parent, then start now. Don’t wait until the first of January. You want to garden more? Then get out and garden more. Sure, maybe this is just an easy day to pick for “new beginnings” since the calendar starts over again. But why not, as my friend sackofmonkeys said, start on Tuesday? Tuesday’s a good day for new beginnings! It’s as good a day as January 1st. The trick to setting goals is that you have to learn how to set reasonable ones. You have to learn how to pick a day to start and how to pick a reasonable end. “A calendar year” requires no thought, and no actual planning. It’s frustrating.
And ultimately, there is a reason not to talk about personal goals and motivations and issues. There is a *very good reason* this is not done. When someone says, “I don’t really want to talk about that”, sometimes we think that’s a trigger. Sometimes people say that when they really DO want to talk about it, but sometimes, it’s just very simple – there are things that we’re going through that we don’t want to talk about because we know talking about them isn’t going to make them any different, and we’re working really hard to just let them go. We could probably say “yes, that area of my life is fine”, but that’s not always true when you’re trying to work through something or let go of something or just not focus on something.
Want to know my goals? I would too. I would really like to know where I’m steering myself, because it feels an awful lot like aimless, at-the-mercy-of-the-sea-and-the-wind drifting. And no, I don’t want to talk about that. Yes, I know there are underlying issues. I don’t want suggestions. I know all of the suggestions. I’ve been here once or twice in the past. My honesty is not a cry for help.
So here we are: fog, social anxiety, the happiness myth, goal-setting, and aimlessness.
I know where this is going. I know where it’s come from. It may be worse than it’s been before; it may be better. I know how to deal with it. It’s just that sometimes, there is so much goddamned pressure on you to reach out to someone, to share your personal hell with other people because if there’s one thing other people want, it’s to capitalize on someone else’s misery. Yes, that’s a jaded perspective. But I don’t want to talk about the bee ess if it means I have to sit through pitiful glances and hand-patting and suggestions for how to make it better and reassurances that “it’ll get better” and “I’m here for you”.
That sounds horrible. I don’t think I mean it to sound horrible. It’s just that there are only so many superficial “hang in there”s and “if you need anything”s that you’re willing to hear. And when someone says “tell me what your goals are for next year” and you answer “to make sure that when I think about phoning someone, I make a point of doing it because they might be dead the next day”, there’s that awkward silence and then the other person looks down at the table – or worse – looks at you with concern (and the concern is the worst because that makes you feel guilty for making them upset) and I’m sorry, but those are the kinds of goals I’m setting. “Spending time with people even though I’m uncomfortable spending time with people” is another one. “Letting go of past wounds”, “continuing to learn what ‘life is suffering’ means and know that it’s not always a bad thing”. “Be healthy”. “Eat more cheese”. These aren’t Calendar Year goals.
I should just start saying “submit my taxes before June”. That actually *is* a Calendar Year goal.
This fog won’t lift until March at the earliest, and we thank you for your patience. It’s pretty ridiculous how fast time moves when it’s eking by slower than frosty molasses.