Lockdown Contemplations & Other Thoughts pt. 2: Words for Subtle Things
There aren’t any words for the subtle things. For the quiet months that past too quickly and “how is already April again’s?” There aren’t any words for weeks spent on auto-pilot, only to come around from it when you see a pale reflection in the mirror, as you wonder where exactly it is that you’ve been hiding. There aren’t words to explain how one day people were just here and now they’re gone forever.
Those words are difficult to find. Descriptions of experiences we all have, experiences that are so subtle and easy to miss that they’re almost indescribable. These seemingly insignificant moments are arguably the most important ones, if we could just make them hold still a second longer. But they always slip away like the memories of dreams do, and so too do we, back into the fog of life. Back into unimportant things that are of the utmost importance right now. It’s hard to pin-point the moments that matter until they’re gone. It’s only then they are gone from us that we can tell how just important they were.
What is it that was so clear to you years ago? The feeling that drove you forward, that made you so sure of yourself. The arrogance of adolescence? Perhaps, but probably not. Maybe it was the lack of doubt. The certainty that glowed in you as you galloped through the years, tearing to be out there in the world. Desperately craving your independence.
And you have it now. The doubt strides in, though – proud and unapologetic. Perhaps it wasn’t the lack of doubt so much as the confidence you had in the idea of who you were. Your identity was etched in the platinum jab of adolescence. There was no reason to ever question it – you were exactly who your friends saw you to be then. In fact you were exactly who your friends were too, and there was little to no discrepancy.
Hairlines recede. You begin to notice the faint pencil shadows bordering eyes that still hold their youth. Getting up in the morning is more difficult now. The symptoms of a hangover don’t require alcohol anymore. You find yourself to be in some ways the same, but in other ways you are drastically different. Time has cemented your ideals, your values, your dealbreakers. You’re not quite an old dog yet but you have little interest in new tricks. New tricks might reveal a lack of ability, and something as mundane as that might be devastating these days.
The feeling you have for the road ahead is difficult to articulate. It’s hard to pin down exactly the sentiment of these abstract, wordless thoughts. There’s fear there, but it’s not the same as the fear you might have for other things, like spiders or nightmares. It’s far more deep rooted than that.
This fear is exciting in parts. It makes you hopeful and hopeless simultaneously, almost as if the fear will manifest based on your decision-making ability. This adds a sort of pressure. In your head you tell yourself that it will all work out in the end, and you certainly have to believe that to be true. If not then what else is there? Still, deep down you know you believe it only because the alternative is terrifying. Children have Santa Claus, the religious have an afterlife, and you have this faith in things working out. All of it is done to keep the fear at bay in the end.
This new madness is a triangle of sweat on your t-shirt, when the crust of sleep stabs your eyes, as you wake up five minutes before your alarm clock every single day. This madness hides in the day-in, day-out of life. You tell yourself you love it, but do you really? There are definitely certain parts of it you love. You can confirm your love for weekends, and time spent with friends, and cracking jokes at home, and rubbing the dog, and drinking cans, and just being around the dog generally. The dogs are key.
There are other parts that aren’t loved though, which you convince yourself must be tolerated. Your disdain for the job, for example. The lack of inspiration, the lack of defined purpose, the turmoil of everything in exchange for whispers of joy. These are things everyone feels, you say. You can sense the weight of that lie the heaviest on Sunday afternoons. Is this what life is? Surely not. Surely there’s much more to it, but you just can’t seem to perceive quite yet.
You’ve been strong though. You are certainly still very strong. Knowing you’re not quite fulfilled but waiting it out. Trusting that it will all come good in the end takes a certain faith. We’re a religious animal. You may not go to a church but you do believe in things without evidence. You believe you will rise again tomorrow, but there’s no proof of that. There’s just past experience.
This is faith. You are faithful. Perhaps not in a God but you have faith in the world. You have faith in something that keeps you going. Whether you think about that directly or not makes no difference. We’d be wise to accept ourselves as tiny parts of much bigger things more often.
There’s a humility in that which breeds acceptance in the present.
(You can read Lockdown Contemplations and Other Thoughts pt. 1 here