How the deep of my Saturday nights have me looking up at my other books as I memorize the clinical passages of a cognitive psychology textbook, I can only speculate on the genesis of the occasion. If I want what I want, then I have to sacrifice, this is the answer to the equation, and that is my tender epiphany.
But it’s probably interesting how the room is silent and the highlighters roll across my floor mat every time I move around, and I think of all the Saturday nights when things weren’t quite the same. Did I not sacrifice enough back then? Maybe I’ve never sacrificed anything; or maybe I’ve sacrificed too much? The answer would have to lie in the quality of happiness I experience when I do become happy. A good remark from an instructor, a wise observation from my therapist, a smile coming at me from an unexpected direction; I find happiness in these things, and underneath, I feel the grinding perpetuation of an unfulfilled life. I have an explanation, but even that doesn’t seem to account for the madness.
How I want to up and drive an RV across the country, all the way to Europe and back, so I can see the world: this would be…middle aged living I suppose. Younger aged living would be dancing like mad in a nightclub I presume, and the old aged ideal would probably consist of golf and hanging out nightly in some seedy bar. But when I think on these things, I think on the problem of a life’s work. My destiny got shuffled around, and my life’s work has become something of a specter; a shadow that moves around, intangible, yet lurks around me wherever I go. What do I have to sacrifice to learn what my life’s work is, let alone pursue the work, and still have what I want? Indeed, maybe delayed gratification isn’t really the problem, so much as it is a problem of trying to focus and the over-abundance of patience; I mean, have I not been patient long enough?
I pick up my pen and I highlight another passage beneath the lamp in my room, and I think about a life’s work I once had, for a moment. I recall the perfect schedule, where I worked four consecutive days, and took the other three off during the middle of the week. This was the one year where I was a writer. I really got down to business back then. The problem? Unsustainable. I had only just begun, my writing was developing, and by the time I realized I wasn’t making enough at my job at the hardware store, I went back to school, and writing took a dive ever since. The further I pursued education, the more it just sucked me in for all my energy.
In the spaces I get a page or two in, and I made some inquiries about the writing program beginning next fall, which I hope will put me back on track. But then I’m left again with the notion of wanting other things and sacrifice, and I feel like I have to find screws to put my head back on. Desires and wants, what are they good for? Do they drive the human psyche? Is there really a plan that these seemingly vital needs underlie the motive for completing?
I can hear my roommate scuffling around, so I put on a movie to help me get through more of the moments. Time and patience and sacrifice will find and have their way with me, and if I never get anything out of it all, I’m fine because I’ve learned how to feel good about doing things that I know do not instantly gratify, but rather, lead to a greater good.
The fact of the matter is, I engage the challenge.
Now I can hear a romp of college kids partying in the street, and I am saying to myself, I hope things work out for the best for these young people. Even though the sound of beer cans falling and loud yelling seep in through the window, at least I’ve made progress in comparison to the nutcases that used to hang out behind my old house, even though the irony is that they’re both doing the same thing. In truth, there’s an obvious difference, and once the noise here calms down, the sound of geese flying by my window accentuate the Indian style position I retain as I read about language and neurology. I am at peace with my path, and I let my frustrations pass like the passing flock does above.
Human nature and the art of circumstance explains the condition of my life, and I have to accept the way in which mine has unfolded. What is the true best thing about the aspect of one’s emotions? One can choose to be happy at any given time.