I quoted Emerson in a previous post saying that our changing moods change the world. I’ve been struck recently how my larger mood seems relatively fixed.
It’s common to find oneself, at the end of the work week, looking forward to days off and what we’ll do over the weekend and feeling a lighter, happier feeling. Or, we’ll fall into a mood in which our life looks hopeless or sad and we’ll wonder what’s the purpose of our life projects that seemed so important. Or, we’ll feel a renewed hope as our life projects feel meaningful.
I’ve been stuck in an overarching mood of despair which appears each morning I wake up and anytime I’m not occupied with some activity. While I’m distracted doing something, I’m not thinking about my situation. It’s the technique of keeping busy that many recommend to avoid painful feelings. But as soon as I stop being occupied, the conditions of my life colored by this despairing mood descend upon me. Life seems purposeless and there’s a terror at wasting my life with no sense of what could make it meaningful.
At 45, it looks like I’m not going to be a somebody as I described in my first two posts. But if I’m not going to achieve somebodyness, then what’s the point? Simply to go from activity to activity trying to feel that that’s enough?
An alternative is to see through the narrow desire to be a somebody. Don’t equate success in life with being a somebody. This is possible to do. But right now, with the somebody valuing regime holding sway, this looks like a way to make myself feel ok for failing at the only thing worth being, ie being a somebody. An attempt to fool myself into thinking that the only thing important to do in life isn’t really important. A consolation prize for failing.