Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Found article: 'Nihilism, restlessness and existential musings'

Clearing out my room in preparation my big move next week I found this little scribbling from what must have been February or March, judging by content. On reading it back I cringed a bit, but it's interesting to remember how I was feeling not so long go. I'd forgotten. Here it is.

I am struck with the Restlessness.

It happens from time to time but it feels big this time. I have to do something, make a change, make my life different and less dependent and squalid.
I'm coming to realise that the things I do when I feel like this are just temporary solutions, basically big displacement activity. I break up with someone or find a new person to enliven myself, get a new job, move house, move cities, cut my hair, clear my wardrobe, and so on. But these things are just a superficial cycle. I need to do something more permanent, in myself - my circumstances are just a symptom or an excuse or distraction. There's always been some project to occupy me - university, a wayward boyfriend, a play, heartbreak or family crisis. Seems a bit like the equivalent of the needlework or music lessons of girls of old - just something to occupy them and make them appear less useless to the outside world.

I remember being stuck in a kind of stupor, aged about 16, a general feeling that I wasn't really in the world, or experiencing anything - like my ears were blocked and I couldn't pop them. I was rehearsing for some play or other and decided I had to snap out of it, force myself into action - so I ran outside into the alleyway next to the theatre and started jumping and running up and down to jolt myself awake. I think it worked, or perhaps it was just a change in my mentality that I wanted to get out of it.

It's not quite the same now, but I still have that feeling that I'm missing the point, things are passing me by and I'm not sure what to do about it. Except that now my brain is full and constantly buzzing with the noise of all these things, what I can or should do, what the hell is the point of it all, and soundbites of things people have said that may or may not be useful.

Action one: I am giving up caffeine. It's a pretty tall order but it's a major habit and forms a large part of my lifestyle - and it's something I've never considered before. I will also stop smoking, but one thing at a time.

Action two: Relax. I used to sped a lot of time daydreaming and just letting my mind wander, but I don't do that any more and I find it more and more difficult to deal with the things flapping about in my head, the everyday stresses and the not knowing what I should be doing. I need to spend some more time alone to fit things together.

Action three: Write more. It's the one thing I've always been good at, and enjoyed doing. I forget for long periods, but it's cathartic and creative. If I can just do a bit once a week for example, I might find what it is I'm after.

I just want not to be shit, not be useless, or wasteful, when I know there's so much more I could be doing.

I'd forgotten completely that I'd decided I wanted to give up smoking - I stopped very shortly after this due to a health issue, cold turkey the minute I walked out of the doctors, sooner than scheduled I expect. I still don't drink caffeine so that worked out pretty well. I write a lot more now too - Exhibit A. Not so sure about the relaxing, but I certainly feel more focused. The restless feeling I have now is due to not being able to do the things I want as soon as I'd hoped, rather than boredom and lack of direction. Things have certainly taken some interesting turns since I wrote this though!

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