Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We Just Battle Ourselves Again

It's amazing sometimes how little, tiny things can illicit memories and emotions associated with the past without your really knowing it. More often than not, it's a combination of little things that make my mind swirl in the vapors of nostalgia. Memories, such wonderful things, yet also haunting in nature.

With one of my current projects here at work drawing to a close, I am finding myself more and more experiencing the emotions that I was filled with at about the same time last year--feelings of change, fright, dread... and tying those together, a melancholy happiness.

As I entered the real world, putting the wonderful years of college behind me for good, I felt like life was over. College, often billed as the time of your life, turned out to be exactly like its description. Being surrounded by friends, defining each day around a very flexible schedule, having so many options for activities at your fingertips, and being near the one you loved all led to a euphoric, fast-paced few years. Just as I was finally coming into my own in college and truly experiencing everything the environment had to offer, I was handed a diploma and told to go about my life.

I was horribly depressed for the first few months after graduation and often found myself withdrawing into seclusion. The biggest difference between my life in college and my new life in the real world could be seen in the moments I had to decide what I wanted to do. During college, I would use every moment possible to spend with friends, to socialize with classmates, to play sports, and to be with Kristin. Once I was thrust into the 8-5 workday world, away from all that I had become used to, I took those free moments and used them to pull away from the world around me. I didn't want this new life and I didn't like it. I wanted to be back in college.

As time went on, the feelings of longing started to subside and my abhorrence for the working life started to fade. There was a problem, however. As those emotions faded, there was nothing left to fill the void--I was overcome with an empty feeling. Thankfully, Kristin had always been around to take my mind off of that emptiness, and to easily fill that hole... well, except for right now, and except for the next few months.

With her abroad, my longing for what I used to have and my distaste for the working life have returned with a vengeance. My time at work moves at a snail's pace and my free time at home, which usually flies by, appears to move by equally slow. I feel directionless, aimless, apathetic, and emotionally disconnected to the world around me. Even after a year of work I have not been able to truly acclimate myself to having to work instead of being able to learn.

Throughout the last few pain filled days I've thought about what I want to accomplish in life. If I were to die tomorrow, what would I have left undone that I had wanted to do? If I were to die in 20 years, what would I want to have done by then? If I lived until the ripe old age of 80, what would I want to be able to look back upon and smile at? I asked myself those questions over and over again and no matter how many times I did, I couldn't for the life of me come up with any answers. All that came to me was a strong feeling of nostalgia for the life I used to lead, the life I now look back on and miss.

What's missing? What don't I have that I need? I sometimes think I know what I need to do, what the next step in life is, but I've been too afraid to act upon it because I'm afraid it might not turn out like I often imagine it would, and then what would I do? My final gambit for filling the void a failure...

Soul searching is something I always scoffed at. When people would tell me they needed to do some soul searching, I would often see it as nothing more than an excuse to avoid a decision. I'd even used it in my past for that purpose. Now, however, I see that it can be an essential step in finding out exactly who you are and what purpose you derive for yourself in life. This self-imposed seclusion, in the time of Kristin's absence, could be just what I need even though I don't feel as if it's the right thing. Maybe this is just the nerve pain talking. I can't say exactly...

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