You know something that keeps me up at night? Maybe I’m lucky that it’s not money, or my job, or bills I have to pay, but in a lot of ways I wish it were. I lay awake at night sometimes wondering exhaustedly in my mind about life, the prospect of death, and just what the hell am I supposed to be doing with myself. I’m sure this is completely normal, and to be fair I’ve asked enough people to know that it is. The truth is, while knowing other people often exhaust themselves late at night worried by the troubles of the future doesn’t give me much solace because those worries never really subside. It’s odd because the more things in my life become clearer, the more anxiety I’m able to develop at the mere thought of losing those things. One of my favorite quotes is by Ben Franklin and he said that “lost time is never found again” and the problem with this quote is it haunts the fucking crap out of me. I’m constantly up wondering what more I should be doing and how everything is going to come crashing down around me.
One of the biggest reliefs that I’ve found recently is the love of my job. It may sound small, but I’ve been in so many awful shit situations work wise that having the anchor in terms of my daily life is a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still stress and headaches attached to my day-to-day work life but the actual outcome of my daily work has brought me joy that in my early 20’s I didn’t anticipate being possible. But still, I worry because time is ticking by. I worry that I’m not taking enough vacation and I’m not traveling enough with my free time but indecisiveness and probably a bit of singleness has kept me local. I’ve always attempted to be present in life and mindful of the future and try not to waste a minute doing something stupid or worry about my future but the craziest thing is that as I get older I become more and more astutely aware at the time that passes by. Every minute older is a minute I’m not going to get back. I often relate time in terms of work, and family, and to relationships for this very reason.
We can spend months if not years with the wrong person, with the wrong job, and worrying about extraneous things in our life utterly out of our control and all in an attempt at some veiled grasp at control. We waste these months and years in a grasp at the norm and a lack of insight into our true gut feelings as to what should be right in our lives and somehow we miss the glaring inadequacies we find in all of these ill-conceived relationships or jobs. It is amazing that while failed relationships or work experiences utterly gut a person, they also provide the greatest amount of education when it comes to knowing yourself. I’ve tried for the better part of my 31 years to live a stress free life and to not “sweat the small stuff” because I’ve always had this feeling that life is short so fuck it why worry? But the truth is now that with each passing year I’m getting a bit crankier and madder at the little things that shouldn’t have any bearing on my day-to-day life. It’s often times the dumbest shit that gets my blood boiling and I have to often times reflect back and wonder what is with all this anger.
I think there’s a lot of reasons that as we age we get a shorter fuse and perhaps lack a willingness to be flexible and that’s due to experiences. As you grow up you’re mostly given things. Toys as a child, license and freedom as an adolescent, ability to drink and go away to college etc. Once life stops giving you these things they’re all replaced by taking things away. When you age and start to lose family, or friends, life starts taking back more than it gives. When those closest to you start being taken from your life you harden and I’ve found change the way I feel about life in general. It’s for that very reason that time and time again I find myself up at night worrying instead of sleeping.
The greatest take away that I’ve gained as I’ve gotten older is that although I do find myself worrying more about my future and how it is all going to end, that is because I am genuinely blessed for all of the things I have in my life. It’s that feeling of happiness and thankfulness that puts me on edge because I know this is all things that can be gone tomorrow. If life has taught me one thing it’s that no matter the ups and downs, not matter the heartache or heartbreak life is a supremely short journey. Concern yourself less with what new watch you want to buy, or car, or latest gadget and stop trying to fill holes in yourself with material things. It doesn’t work and you won’t feel fulfilled. Start appreciating the time you have with the loved ones in your life and understand that in life there are no guarantees for tomorrow. And when you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unsure and uncomfortable with the prospects of what tomorrow may bring, you’re not alone.