I’ve finally realized that perhaps there is not enough peace in my life. Every moment seems to be going from one place to another, and there simply has not been enough time to sit and think – to reflect on what I am doing, and then to contemplate why I am doing it. Being pushed to go from one task to another is too much like running a marathon. There is no chance to slow down, because slowing down would show weakness and failure.
That isn’t to say that I have had no time for rest. On the contrary – I feel more well rested and happier than almost any other time in my life. Yet, there is a gnawing discomfort. Because even in the times when I am resting, my mind wanders to the tasks of the times to come. My personal time is spent still doing things, albeit things that are not directly related to some task that I was given. A secondary guilt complex even begins to kick in – I start to feel uneasy as soon as I truly have nothing to do. I begin to aimlessly rewatch old YouTube videos or re-read the same familiar stories.
Oddly, for the longest time, I’ve been meaning to write a blog on losing my voice, because I have had the sensation that I can no longer speak in the same way that I used to. Instead of broadcasting my thoughts freely and with wild abandon (as fifteen-year-old high school students do have a tendency to do), I’ve become much more reserved and calculated. It feels that even my blog, one of the most treasured parts of my personal high school experience, has turned into something else. With the banner displaying my official name, instead of my screenname, and with a .yale.edu in the domain name instead of the good ol’ wordpress.com, I’ve become more hesitant in publishing my thoughts.
Bo Burnham has recently published a new comedy special, “Make Happy”, with many segments posted on YouTube. The part that seemed to resonate the deepest was when he talked about performance – he noted how everyone has been forced to become a performer, whether that is through witty tweets, accomplished Facebook pictures, or stunning Instagram photos, everyone performs constantly. And then everyone is forced to watch everyone else’s performance, evaluating and comparing how they have done.
Irrationally, I feel like that – as if my actions and words are being put out on the stage. Simple statements are cross-examined, to ensure that I am who I think I am. Without finding peace, it is hard to say if I really am doing what I want, or if I have deluded myself into believing that I enjoy what I am doing.
And yet… it is quite difficult to describe. At the same time that I worry about what my life looks like from the outside, I feel happier than I have ever been in the past. I’m able to explore new ideas and places at my own leisure, while engaging in interesting conversations and learning more about amazing people. I recall reading an article from a psychiatrist regarding this syndrome, where young adults in their twenties were showing up, seemingly without a single problem. They were college educated, had good white-collar jobs, and got on well with their parents. Yet, there was an existential void in their lives, where they felt unhappy, but had no idea why.
I don’t think I’m remotely close to that stage. I recognize that my happiness tends to be cyclic and irrational, and that I still have mysteries of life that I am content with figuring out slowly. But perhaps by finding a small area to slowly rest and rejuvenate, I would be more at peace with everything else in my life.