I could feel my mind going fuzzy around the edges as I drove down the same left lane, on the same speed, in the same direction to be reunited with a friend who means quite a lot to me. The anxiety that I’d felt the night before about the prospect of driving on my own for longer than an hour should have stopped me from getting in the car, but the mental image of reconnecting with this friend after 4 years momentarily overcame the paralysing fear… and so I drove.
20 minutes in, I got visions of myself parking on the side of the road and breaking down into tears.
35 minutes in, I got visions of myself taking the next exit and going back to my safe space. But then I couldn’t remember where my safe space was anymore.
50 minutes in, I got visions of myself going over the speed limit and letting whatever happen happen. But then I looked to my right and saw the most important person in my life sitting next to me. Having sensed my anxiety, he offered to fill up my passenger seat to calm my nerves.
I couldn’t do that to him.
Needless to say, I’ve not been doing too well.
The pressures of life, of being perfect in every avenue – be it my career, my social life, my marriage, my fitness, my religion or my familial relationships – have been getting too much for a tad too long. As hard as I try, and god knows I’ve been trying hard, I seem to be dropping the ball somewhere. I’ve been saying no to myself in order to say yes to everyone and everything else, and yet I’m still coming up too short. Messages from friends are still unanswered, phone calls from my family still unreturned, circles on my Apple Watch still not closed (No, Apple, I really can’t “still do it”) and getting out of bed for work is getting exponentially harder.
I caught a glimpse of myself in a shop front the other day and saw a slump of defeat, a slump I instantly recognised as more than just my signature bad posture.
I guess I always thought I’d have things figured out by now. I foolishly thought my 20s were meant to be going in a steadily upwards trajectory as I slowly unpeeled my proverbial onion and understood myself a little more with every passing year. I’d assumed that halfway into my 28th year, I would be closer to my true purpose than ever before. But I don’t think I’ve ever been further away.
In my early 20s, I was fixated on the topics of home and time; the two things that always seemed too elusive to grasp with my own two hands long enough to examine them, turn them this way and that to try and understand them a little more. Years later, I’m finding myself right where I started at 22. Time is passing, things are changing, home is a concept too large for me to grasp and I’m overall still none the wiser.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an inspirational post where I reveal how I overcame this life slump – and shoulder slump – with meditation and pilates. Believe me, I wish it was. If that’s what you’re expecting at the end of this write up, prepare to be let down. All I can offer is a little sliver of my truth. This is me exposing my heart in an effort to feel a little lighter, and maybe relief the weight on someone else’s shoulder by making them feel 1% less alone.
I’ll leave you with this music video of Loyle Carner, driving down a road just like I was, playing out his own visions and speaking truths that feel a little close to mine.
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