It is only now I am starting to realize that I spent the past few years living in constant, unrelenting, unceasing pain.
I lived in agony… and I didn’t even notice it.
As this year starts to wind down, we all start to reflect. This is the time of year where people start to reconnect, folks from the past reach out, things that you haven’t let go, well, you start to release. We start trying to figure it all out: what have I done this year, why have I done it, is it better or is it worse?
I’m sitting here in an office and getting ready to start my work day remote. A year ago, at this time, I would have been sitting in my house, getting ready to start my work day, and also remote! I work for the same company, but last year I lived in NYC and the company was based in the The District, and this year, I live there in the District, but I’m here in NYC because work requires me to be here.
And, it just hit me: it feels fine. None of this hurts.
And it also just registered that last year? Everything, every moment, hurt. However, it is not to blame on the events that were happening in my life at the time; instead, I am starting to seeing that the last few years everything, every moment, those hurt, too.
I am not going to say this stopped because I moved from my hometown to the District. That’s an easy out and a false narrative. I am not going to say it’s because various people have come in and out of my life in the last year; also an easy out and false. Nor am I going to “blame” work or family or any of those things, no.
Instead, I am going to blame the person in the mirror, and by blame, I don’t mean guilt. Instead, I am just giving appropriate responsibility for the life that was being lived. I lived my life; I was in control of it; I let it happen, and that’s okay. I don’t need to beat myself up about it, but I do need to realize that the life I was living was not the one I should have been, and now that I am living the life I want to, it is so much easier to breathe and just to be, that wow!
It doesn’t hurt.
I have stress. My day-to-day life is not lived in some idyllic retreat, permanently on vacation, on a cloud of pillows and doused in champagne. No, I have stress some days! I get anxious, I get nervous, I get upset – sometimes argumentative, mildly resentful, I grump because at heart I am hedgehog and a curmudgeon – but they are feelings. They are passing things. They are momentary and they don’t hurt because I live in my truth.
I have a good day, a great one even, fantastic! I love it and I enjoy it and I smile a lot. I have a bad day, even a terrible one, alright, less fantastic! I dislike it, I do not enjoy it, and I may frown. But, these are not dramatic things. These are not commentaries on ‘who I am’ or statements on the broad strokes of my life, what value I have or my worth.
Therefore, it doesn’t “hurt”. It doesn’t hurt in that fundamental and existential way that makes your life into a self-imposed prison, a box, a box full of nails that is tight and dark and mean, and a place of hopelessness, loss, and the absence of purpose or meaning. It’s not living in agony.
Instead, it’s just living. Even when it’s hard, it’s easy. Even when it’s stressful, there is joy. Even when there is no end in sight, there is hope.
I no longer live in agony. That part of my life, finally, thankfully, is over.