Unmoored

Photo by Joel Bengs on Unsplash

I’m having a sad day. I assume you know the kind of day I am referring to. It’s as if all the difficult and emotional things in my life that have been running in background mode for a while all decided to rise up and jump on me at the same time, leaving me at the bottom of a dog pile of sadness. I’m one of the most fortunate people I know, so I fight the urge to feel sorry for myself, even when there are legitimate life experiences that are troubling me. When you have everything, it feels shallow to whine about the few things that feel off in your life.

I allow myself to feel frustration, anger, shame, guilt, and a whole host of other emotions, but sadness is verboten. I think this goes back to my childhood. There are only so many times you can hear someone sing “Cry Me A River” or say “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” before you realize sadness is something to be avoided at all times. The past couple days, though, I let the sadness smother me. I have been throwing myself a pity party, and I’ve not been enjoying it one bit.

Tonight while walking with my youngest, I was talking to him about how I am struggling. In addition to all the truly shitty things happening in the world and the country right now, I’m facing growing older, having my kids go to college and move on with their lives, recognizing that the job I’ve devoted myself to 24/7 for the past 21 years is ending, accepting that the pandemic took a toll on my friendships and hobbies, and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with the rest of my time on earth. If I had to put a term to what I am feeling, I would say I am unmoored. Luke, being the wise person he is, told me I need to find some anchors, regular routines or habits that will give my life some stability and meaning when I feel like I am adrift. He pointed out that he has reading and school to keep him busy and give him purpose. This makes sense, and I know he’s right.

I have spent the past two years the way many people have during the pandemic: in limbo. I’d like to start back to yoga, but I suspect the minute I do some new variant will come sweeping through, close studios, and set me back again. This fear that the other shoe is constantly about to drop and mess everything up is debilitating. I need to get to a place where I can shove my melancholy and fears aside and throw myself back into life. I need to start moving forward, but it’s hard to do that when all you want to do is lie around and binge watch shows in some sort of meaningless, feeling-less stupor. I am all over the place, stuck in a cycle of feeling superfluous one minute and lying to myself and acting as if everything is fine when I know damn well it is not the next. It’s no bueno.

I need to claw my way out of this hole. I am going to start with forcing myself to exercise and hope that sets me on a better path. It’s either going to improve my mood or kill me is what I figure. At least it will be a step in a direction, which will be better than staying buried under my demons, right?

Life is hard. Anyone who tells you it isn’t is selling you something. On a more positive note, though, I guess “unmoored” is another way of saying “free to explore new shores.” So, there’s that.

2 comments

  1. Justine:

    Unmoored was precisely the word I used to describe myself a little more than a year ago, in the wake of my wife’s death. I knew I was strong and healthy physically, and I knew the boat was sound. But I had no idea where the hell we were (in the nautical sense, meaning ship & crew), and no idea where to sail to. What heading? What destination? Do I really need to sail at all? Couldn’t I just sleep on the deck and let her drift for a while?
    A silver lining showed itself, in the form of the socially-accepted “mourning period” of a year. Maybe that’s an old tradition from my own time and people, but it rings true to my heart. Herein was a kernel of thought. That I could expect my mind and spirit to be a little off the rails for this period of time. Yes, a year.
    This helped me to gain badly-needed perspective, and prompted a conversation with my subconscious, for it is from this mysterious right hemisphere that most of the unsettling is felt. It is a repository of fact and machine of instinct. Unplugging half of it’s world and letting it drift is insanity as far as it’s concerned. Beneath our robotic going-to-work and paying-the-bills surface roils a volcano of emotion dowsed in questions and fears about the now and the next.
    “I don’t have all the answers right now,” I told Subconscious, “but I know they are important to you and I vow I will get them for you, but we must be patient. The World says a year is a reasonable period of time to plan the next expedition of our lives. Meanwhile, instead of worrying about what’s missing from our little world, let’s try to start planning for that next expedition. And no pressure. We have a year.”
    I have no idea if that helps, Justine, but it was beneficial to me (including this reutterance of it).
    Luke is right, of course, in the sense that we need a solid moor at our home port. He would agree, I’m sure, that the mooring is there only for when your boat is at rest.
    And what’s the purpose of having a boat?
    Indeed, get out the charts and start planning to see the next horizon.
    Here in your warm cabin, safely moored, until you are ready to set sail on that next expedition.
    And: no pressure. It takes time to properly plan an expedition, y’know.

    All my best,

    Scott

    1. Hey Scott….I deeply appreciate your thoughtful comments here. I think you’re right. The grace we offer ourselves once we alleviate the unnecessary pressure of feeling we *have* to act or feel a certain way within an arbitrary time frame frees us up to discover what might be next. I probably need to allow myself this time to accept my new reality and ease into what comes next. We don’t always need to know in the moment what is next up for us. And being kind to the self that is struggling, giving them space and time to accept the uncertainty, is crucial. Thanks for reaching out.

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