Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Diagnosis: Existential Angst

Aside from those cute little guys in the movie "Happy Feet" I'm the only penguin I know of who thinks this much. Is this the affliction of having a neocortex? Damn you higher consciousness!

Every day I awake with this sense of dread, this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. And no, it's not heartburn. It's this all-pervading sense of absurdity, the absurdity of this world, this life, this universe. The seeming complexity, balance and harmony which disguises the still deeper randomness, chaos and disharmony. I want to buy into the illusion that all is well. My gut, quite literally, says otherwise.

I was at a party the other night where people were discussing their careers and their education. Some of them had been in University for 5 or more years. I just can't relate to that. What motivates these people to do anything day after day? What drives people? I really don't get it.

My whole life I was driven by externals. A desire for approval. From my mother, from my teachers, from my friends, from my god. And it wasn't sustainable. Eventually, it all fell away. Now, there are the basic survival concerns that should be driving me each day: food, shelter, clothing. Nope, they're not doing it either. So, what is it that keeps me going every day? Why do I bother to get out of bed at all? Well, sometimes I don't. But when I do, aside from some "should" that must be done (I should brush my teeth. I should eat. I should keep that appointment with my doctor.) there is still that part of me that believes, that hopes that one day it will all become clear. That I'll have that pivotal, ground-breaking, earth-shattering epiphany where I'll laugh uncontrollably for hours, like some manic idiot, knowing that I've discovered what my life is all about.

More wishful thinking? Perhaps. But hey, it's all I've got left.

tall penguin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do not seek approval from your friends, but grant approval to your friends from the endless wellspring of generosity and love that is within us all. Cut them the breaks and offer the encouragement that we all need.

Seek approval from yourself. You are likely to be your own harshest critic. Then look at the example you set with your friends and apply it to yourself. You can be generous, loving, and approving of yourself. Cut yourself a break now and again, and give yourself that encouragement.

You're allowed.

It's not easy and it takes practice.

Dan