Having resolved to withdraw from my course, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief followed by a significant epiphany – I realised I’d transmuted all of my vague, amorphous angst about what I should be Doing About My Life (but wasn’t), into concrete, specific anxiety about work I should be doing for uni (but wasn’t, or at least not rigorously enough). In eliminating the latter by deciding to withdraw, I’d also, at least temporarily, eliminated the burden of the former.
I didn’t have anything to worry about anymore. I felt free, for the first time in maybe a year. I felt happy. I felt like I was existing in the present moment, rather than trapped within a suffocatingly rigid mental structure that I couldn’t possibly escape from.
I was reminded of the ultimate, liberating truth that I’d become terribly afraid of – because I saw it as being what had gotten me into this mess in the first place: all of this shit dragging me down was (just like.. whisper it.. everything else I perceive) a creation of my own mind.
My mind, which belongs to me. Mine.
I could choose to let it all go. I could relax.
Paradigm shift. Breakthrough.
The world changed.
My god it was beautiful.
Intense mental reshuffling ensued. In a wired, sleep-deprived, half-drunken state on Thursday night, I scrawled the following notes:
Nothing I do will ever be enough for what? For WHAT? You stupid boy – you have (and it’s a bit of a habit, isn’t it?) trapped YOURSELF within a recursive mental structure, which has locked your brain up almost completely, and caused you to lose sight of what life is really about – which is to say, the active, fluid, open-ended process of actually living it.
You must accept that you have been clinging desperately to the identity of a person who is dead, staring out of the eyes of a dead person. You must accept that you’ve done this to yourself. And you must stop. All you need to do this is to know that you can. And you can.
You, the person writing these words right now, is NOT DEAD. The person writing these words is 28 years old and their life is not over. It’s recognisable as still just beginning. And although that’s kind of dysfunctional, it’s a hell of a fuckload better than being dead. Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Think it fucking is.
You have a past, but it’s finished. Over and done. It’s yours and you must accept that – but it isn’t YOU. It isn’t who you are. You are a living, breathing entity. You are an open-ended system. You are an ongoing concern. You are a work in progress.
You may not have the first idea who you are, but you can start finding out, and doing that can be a fun, vital, creative endeavour. And it can begin here, now. Fucking believe it.
Okay. That’s more than enough earnest, self-indulgent, self-obsessed drivel for the moment.
Observation: there’s a personality characteristic for you right there, no-self boy: YOU ARE INSANELY SELF-OBSESSED. It’s only natural: you are recognisable as going through a second childhood, of sorts. But work on that. Persue this whole construct-a-new-identity thing, for sure. But don’t take it too goddamn seriously. And make a major plank of it a resolution to LOOK OUTWARDS MORE. For your own sake, and everyone else’s. It’s so much more interesting.