Friday, August 01, 2014

Game Over

While I've spent most of the last ten years looking back, I've done so with a realisation that it's no way to move forward. So when I have thought about the future -- which has been quite often -- I've always been unsure of how it was ever going to be different. Of course, there have been the obvious changes of physical surroundings and the like. And perhaps there have been a few unexpected shifts emotionally, mostly for the worse. But I've been proven consistently right about the seeming impossibility to do away with my worst limitations, and the effects they have had on how I live out my days. The more this goes on, the more self-fulfilling it appears to be; and the less hope I have for the sort of impossible miracle that a naive, younger me used to hold out for.

Every time someone asks me what must seem a perfectly reasonable question -- are you making any effort to meet people? -- I find reason to dismiss their concerns as misunderstanding something fundamental about me. True enough, it reflects a lack of knowledge of the depths of my mixture of solipsism, shyness, and general comfort with solitude. But while it's accurate to say that's not me in the sense of the way I've lived life, is that the me I want to be? Judging from the excoriations I subject myself to on a regular basis, in some part at least the answer must be no. So what stops me from trying to become the person I want to be?

The trouble of course is that I've never been sure who that person is. A simple starting point is to posit that it's the logical continuation of the person, impossibly foreign to me now, who was fairly open in interactions, and maybe more importantly, a lot less bogged down by his failings. But then I remind myself that there's a reason all that changed, in response to a world much darker than I dreamed possible. So, fine, an adaptation that didn't involve such an unquestioning acceptance of nihilism, hard as that is to picture. Why not make steps towards that ideal, vague as it may be?

In part I think the answer has to be that it all seems so pointless now. I do feel as though the only people I had any chance of allowing into my life more than superficially are beyond communication, in the sense of no longer affording me any special status in their consciousness. I don't fault them, and if anyone is to blame, it's me. But that's irrelevant, because the fact is that I do feel at times that such chances get rarer the more we go along. What are the odds I'll run into someone at this stage who has similarly been waiting for a comrade with whom to discuss at length the pleasures of honky tonk? Everyone has found their match, and rightfully moved along. I now have the walkway all to myself. It's a lot of space, but I don't know where it leads to.

I'd like to think that it's possible to make peace with what I've become, and to embrace the pleasures it affords. Surrounding myself with art, for example, in hopes of seeing deeper into man and myself. It's often enjoyable, no doubt, but I can't shake the feeling that it's ultimately an admission of defeat. (There's that weakness again -- judging myself to some imagined standards laid down by some imagined arbiter.) Social stigma is often insidious, possibly corrosive in development of a sense of identity. But it sometimes help regularise personality, and I think this might be an instance of it. People my age I run into simply don't act this way. They don't give off the sense that they're going through the motions, biding time till something extraordinary changes all the rules. They, very sensibly, pursue things they desire out of life. If any of them spend as much time in desperate introspection as I do, they hide it much better than me.

Of late, I've realised that a lot of time has passed, by objective standards, since days that for whatever reason I've treated as being more real, more alive, than anything I've experienced since. While I'm constantly filled with regret at what I lament is, in more melodramatic moments, a wasted life, there is also a sense that I'm owed something more for being such a dutiful servant of a particular code of conduct. It's as if the time spent living out someone else's dictum as to what I was supposed to be doing -- bad study choices, all that -- should not weigh the same as the time that was afforded to others who chose more wisely. When I look at people who I once painfully left, I'm left wondering if I could have completed a carefree youth in another life. (Likely I'd have found ways to complain about that too, of course.)

This has been unusually long, and disjointed, but it's a serious subject, and deserves more than my usually pithy platitudes. All said, as things stand, I don't see any reasons to pursue anything. Part of me thinks I can be happy locked away by myself with my books and poetry to protect me. But every year the evidence to the contrary mounts. I know who I want to be. But I want what I can't have. So what am I waiting for, exactly? I am beyond change. I am what I always have been, only now, more honest about it.